Saturday, 21 January 2017
Salt's Mill in Saltaire: SketchCrawl Day
This time last week, I organised another SketchCrawl day out for Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. It's always really tricky at this time of year, as we need to be somewhere that allows us to be inside, out of the cold. You can imagine that over the years, we have been to most of the large museums and indoor venues for many miles around, often several times. But we missed one...
For some reason, I have never before organised a trip to Salt's Mill. For those who have never been, it's a gorgeous old mill building on 3 floors, beautiful restored and turned into a museum / art gallery / café / bookshop / high-end shopping venue. The gallery mostly features the work of my all-time favourite artist, David Hockney. At the moment, as well as plenty of other examples of his work through the years, they have devoted the main gallery space to his 2011 iPad landscape painting series, created in North Yorkshire. They work so well blown up huge. I remember being amazed at that when I first saw them at the Royal Academy show.
Because there was so much to see at Salt's Mill, I didn't sketch as much as usual. I spent the morning painting this view from the stairwell window. It gave a fabulous, elevated vantage-point, but I got absolutely frozen, as the stairwell was unheated. Worth it though.
There was an extraordinary turn-out for the event: the best ever. The biggest previous group was the 40 people we had for the day in York Minster, but on Saturday, we had 45 - 50 people! It was hard to tell precisely, as not everyone was there at the start, and a few left early. It made lunch quite interesting to organise. I booked several tables in the mill's Diner.
It was a really sociable lunch and the staff coped surprisingly well. While I was waiting for my soup, I did a quickie contour sketch across the table.
After lunch I decided to sit in comfort. The ground floor was a delight. Not only was it toasty warm, and crammed with interesting things including more Hockney work, making it a feast for the eyes, but vases of fresh lilies meant that it smelled lovely. And on top of all that, they played beautiful classical music the whole time. I settled on sketching this wonderful old stopcock / valve thingy.
At the end of the afternoon, as usual, we all got together to share what we had been up to. There were so many of us, we took over the café. Again, staff were brilliant, really accommodating, pushing lots of tables together and patiently serving teas while we oooed and aaahhed about the work.
Because we were so many, it took ages for the books to go all the way round the table and I very nearly missed my train home. Luckily, one of my travelling companions was more on the ball than me!
Another thoroughly enjoyable day out. And so good to see, once again, lots of newcomers taking part alongside us old hands.