One from another Monday lunchtime at the Silo. I just stayed indoors, eating a burrito and listening to the new Art Brut album on my iPod. I didn’t want to be outside sketching, the weather is warm but very windy, and my nose is like a pressure cooker. This time of year is pretty bad for allergies here in Davis. This wasn’t a particularly interesting lunchtime, so I will tell you about the weekend. On Saturday it was the 99th annual Picnic Day. I pretty much never sketch at Picnic Day, mostly because of the crowds, but also because I am here on campus every single day, and drawing Picnic Day, when that same campus is ridiculously crowded, just seems a bit odd to me. Plus I always get too hot and tired, wandering from place to place with my son. We did see some nice cure kittens though. I missed the parade in the morning, the best thing about Picnic Day (no, the late night parties are not the best thing, not that I would actually know). I was volunteering for a couple of hours at the Little League’s Snack Shack, which was a great change of scene. I had to sell snow-cones and other strange candies I have never heard of to tiny children (who mostly shared my dislike of grape flavoured sweets). It is funny how different the candies are here to what I had as a kid in Burnt Oak though. I recall in the newsagents on Watling Avenue, and in Toni-Bells too, there was what seemed like thousands of different “penny sweets” (which actually ranged from half a penny to a whopping ten pence). I would spend hours in there with my friends just trying to choose what to buy. This wasn’t you pick’n'mix neither, this was serious sweets business. This was all brought back to me when a kid of about six or seven presented me with a dollar and just said, how many different things can I get for one dollar? Quite a few as it turned out. Back in my day though, that sort of money would have kept you in candy for a month. And I’m not that old.
Yesterday we the sketchers of Davis met at the UC Davis Silo, my usual everyday sketching spot, for the latest ‘Let’s Draw Davis!’ sketchcrawl. There were about thirteen of us all in all, familiar faces and new sketchers also. I love meeting new fellow urban sketchers, but it is especially fun seeing people draw the same things that I sketch on my everyday lunchtimes, in new and different ways. I started by spending a long time drawing this wing of the Silo in brown pen. My son was there sketching with me in the morning; he’s a sketchcrawl veteran now. It was another warm day, so it was nice to sit in the shade. UC Davis is quiet this weekend, but this week thousands of students will return or start their new journeys in Davis, and the craziness begins. I can’t wait of course, being a busy and exciting period of work for me, but at the same time it’s nice to savour the quiet moments when I can.
There’s also a lot of last-minute construction work going on on campus too, it seems. This work machine was parked near the Silo and just begged to be sketched. I drew this in micron pen and coloured it in watercolour. I don’t know what ‘MF’ stands for but I can hazard a guess (it reminded me of “TFU” in the robot wars episode of Spaced).
My last one of the day was a fairly quick one of the back of Hart Hall, and I decided to make it a bit livelier by splattering paint all over the page for a bit of texture. After this we all met in the shade outside Shields Library and looked at each other’s sketchbooks, and talked about pens and paper and methods, which is always fun. The next one will be in October, on the date of the worldwide sketchcrawl; details to come at some point soon!
Sketching has been sporadic lately, but I have been doing a little. Above is a quick lunchtime sketch at the Silo, UC Davis, where I often eat my lunch. On this day I sketched; other days I just eat, read, listen to podcasts, or in the case of yesterday I spent my time writing hilarious captions against photos of hairy pretentious bands in a local free magazine. That was fun. But anyway, this got me thinking about how many times I’ve sketched at the Silo – a LOT, I’ve worked at UCD for six and a half years now, blimey. So here is a selection of sketches of the Silo area from over the years.
(Above Left: March 2008; Above Right: April 2008)
(Above Left: Feb 2007; Above Right: July 2009)
(Above Left: Feb 2010; Above Right: March 2012)
(Above Left: March 2008; Above Right: July 2009)
(Above: Feb 2012)
(Above Left: August 2007; Above Right: Jan 2008)
(Above Left: June 2011; Above Right: May 2011)
(Above Left: March 2009; Above Right: Sept 2007)
(Above Left: Sept 2011; Above Right: Oct 2011)
Thanks for sticking to the end! This isn’t even all of them, and doesn’t include all the South Silo, Bike Barn, Outdoor Adventures ones, the whole Silo Complex. This represents a helluva lot of Grill’d Stuff’d Burritos.
I must admit I am really happy it is raining in Davis. We need it, for sure, but i just like the feel of the rain. It feels comforting, feels like home. Oh, it can bugger off again soon enough for sure (I didn’t move to California to get rained on, I can do that in north London) but it’s nice while it’s here. I did a qucik rainy sketch from the window of the Silo at lunchtime yesterday.
Here is another familiar scene, but drawn in a different way, at lunchtime today. My recycling bin is always bursting at the seams at this time of year, so I like to recycle the nicer brown envelopes for some sketching. I used a different pen, a black Y&C Calligraphy pen from Japan (well, from the University Art store in Sacramento), which was really fun to draw with. I have drawn this same view, of the south Silo from the steps of Bainer Hall, every six months since mid-2007, once in Winter, once in Summer, once with leaves and once without. One way to capture the changing Davis seasons. Here are the others…
Yes, keen eyes will notice that I have drawn this thing before, the UC Davis Silo, place of many a lunchtime sketch. In fact I drew from this very angle just a few weeks ago, sat by the bins eating lunch, as you do. I thought, now that’s a nice angle, with some nice colours, I’ll draw that again, but bigger, on a standalone piece of paper that I can maybe frame and put in an upcoming exhibition. I spent a couple of lunchtimes on this, listening to a couple of podcasts (one being David Crystal’s talk about Evolving English at the British Library, the other being the Guardian’s Football Weekly. Footy and Language History, my two favourite subjects), finishing off at home. The big furry rocketship. One change in the past few eeeks since that last drawing, and it’s a colour change (that doesn’t involve turning leaves), the big yellow umbrellas are gone, replaced with skimpier green Starbucks-infused ones. Did it smell sitting by the bin? I would be lying if I said it didn’t, but only when the person who empties the bins took it out and sat it next to me. Man those things smell bad. If that’s what Artoo-Detoo smells like on the inside no wonder C-3PO is always mad at him. The big Recycle sign, well that complements the Silo’s tower of course, but it’s also very Davis, the city of the environmentally conscious.
As I said before, lunchtimes are more crowded now that the students are back in town (such exciting daily reporting from Davis, California! Tune in tomorrow when I tell you whether there were any chocolate croissants at the coffee shop or not) Anyway, seating being limited I sat out in the shade with a different view of the Silo, and one that I could not resist putting into the sketchbook. Yes, that’s ivy covering the Silo tower. With a few more windows that would be a brilliant place for a fantasy-story wizard to live. The Wizard of the Silo, sounds like a mystery novel already. Well, NaNoWriMo is coming up, why not write it? Here’s the plot: in the hot, hot valley there lived an old wizard, who despite the heat always dressed in a long thick robe, and wove ivy into his long flowing beard. (I know what you’re thinking, ‘another bloody hippy’, but let’s carry on with the story). Anyway, this wizard had grown tired of all his magic and all his crows (that’s a thing, there used to be loads of crows in Davis but you don’t see them any more, where are they all? Sorry, back to the story) and … actually you can finish the rest, I’m bored of this epic tale already. Never mind NaNoWriMo, I’ve given up before it’s even October. Well, I have a lot of drawing to do for my December show…
I sketch this every six months, once in the winter, once in the summer. It’s been a routine since about 2007. Sometimes I do a lot of detail and it takes me a couple of lunchtimes, and other times I go quickly and do the lot in one fifty-minute sitting. Above is one of the latter. I did it last week using a green micron 02 pen and a black micron 05, colouring in watercolour as always.
To see the one I did in January, with all of the previous ones in the same post, have a look here.