Monday 10 April 2017

York Minster - Sunny SketchCrawl

It's five years since Urban Sketchers Yorkshire last visited York Minster. I can't quite believe that: it feels like two or three.

We chose an absolutely perfect day for it this time, purely by chance. I expected to be sketching inside the Minster, but the weather was so glorious on Saturday, I spent my day slowly working my way around the outside of the building, drawing it from different perspectives and recording bits of the life around it. This was my first painting of the day, looking at the side entrance:

I used my usual technique of laying in roughly placed watercolour first, looking at the main shapes and the principle darks, before going in with a green Koh-i-Noor pencil to capture the essence of the twiddly detail.  When I got home, I discovered that this is a view I have painted before, on my earliest sketch-visit:

I used watercolour and a Koh-i-Noor pencil on this one too as it happens, but the effect is quite different.

For my 2nd painting, I walked round to the back of the building. The Minster is so huge, you have to find a way to get back from it. Luckily, a road provided a vantage point, giving me the distance I needed. I experimented by painting the sky first, looking at it as a negative space, then the building's shadows, then the line in my Inktense pencils. The paper texture creates a perfect impression of the window leading, though that was a lucky chance. The tiny railings were very helpful for adding scale:

We got together on the grass outside the Minster for a picnic at lunchtime and looked at the work so far. Unfortunately, by the time we asked a passer-by to take this photo, quite a few people had wandered off to buy coffee - there were about 30 of us altogether. We had quite a few first timers too, which is always good:

There is a spot, just off to the side of the main entrance, where busking is allowed. When we first arrived, a man was singing, really belting it out. By lunchtime, he had been replaced by a singer/songwriter with a guitar. As you know, I love sketching musicians, so I planted my little stool on the pavement in front of her and started to paint. This was watercolour first, then Inktense pencils:

She was really good and it was a treat to have live music while I worked. I showed her when I was done and she was thrilled to bits and took my photo with the sketch. I didn't know at the time, but one of our group spotted me in action and also took this photo. I had a nice chat with the man to my right, who watched me from beginning to end. He was covered in tattoos and so looked a little intimidating, but was actually really gentle-mannered:

York is very busy and, by mid afternoon, there were people everywhere, but I discovered a wonderful haven right alongside the Minster, which I'd never come across previously. The Treasurer's House has a walled garden, with a croquet lawn, a little fountain and a few statues. I was struck by this statue's profile, with the Minster's windows looming behind. Because it was a fairly complex view, I drew the line-work first, using a blue and a red Koh-i-Noor pencil, then painted the colour on top:

By the time I was done, I had an odd 20 minutes left, before it was time to re-meet up with everyone at the pub. The sun was still shining and I wanted to make use of every minute of it, so I quickly returned to the park where we had picnicked and did my best to capture this lovely tree against the ruins:

The upstairs room of The Eagle and Child was already full when I got there. People were sitting around 3 big tables, passing round the various sketchbooks. I threw mine into the mix and got stuck in, looking at all the work. The standard was really high and, as always, it was inspiring to see how other people had tackled things. You can look at other people's work from the day here.

A huge thank you to Joe and Michael for helping out by organising of the day (and booking the sunshine). A great success.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to miss this one, looks like you all had a great time in the sunshine. Fantastic set of sketches as usual :)

Lynne the Pencil said...

Cheers Sian. Yes, I would very much have liked to have seen your versions of the Minster :-)

Ginny Stiles said...

I have ink-tense pencils but have taken them on location. They are SO intense that I am not comfortable with them. So can you tell again how you use them at the end AFTER the watercoloring? I adore all these sketches and although am in US I have visited the Yorkminster many years ago. A week after my visit there was a fire and I believe the rose window had to be removed for repair or something. We were astounded.

Ginny Stiles said...

That should have said "but I have NOT taken the pencils on location."

Eleanor said...

That is one fab set of drawings/sketches. I'm dead impressed. What a lovely day to have chosen to go.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you. We were indeed very lucky with our chosen day.

Ginny - you need to use the Inktense pencils sparingly. There is a post here - How to Draw with Watercolour Pencils - which might well be a help for tips. When I use them with watercolour, I only draw the bare necessities that are needed to clarify what the paint either doesn't say, or has got a little wrong. The busker is a good example. I don't shade with them.

Hope that helps.

Ettoliram said...

Hi Lynne,

I just love your sektchcrawl posts, they are so inspiring!

You mentioned using a Koh i Noor pencil in your first sketch; could you tell me which one of theirs that was?
I love using paint first and then drawing over it, but I haven't yet found the right pencil/pen for that.

Lynne the Pencil said...

I've got various ones, but my all-time favourite is the 'original', because it has a good range of colours, but has enough strong red and blue to show up, and no white in the mix.