Virtual Sketching with Yorkshire Urbansketchers

A lively watercolour sketch of a fruit and veg stall in Leeds Market.  Done en plein air, not virtual sketching.
The Fruit and Veg Stall

Good morning everyone. To be honest, the image above is not an example of virtual sketching. However, I wanted to show you the sort of work I do when we go out into the real world . In fact, on this particular day a couple of years ago, we went to Leeds Market Hall, UK. And we had special permission to go onto the top balcony which is usually closed to the public. And, what a wonderful view we had, looking over the stalls below. This stallholder shouted his wares incessantly and he attracted loads of customers to buy.

Personally, I feel that sketching quickly like this gives a liveliness to the work. Even though the technique suffers of course. But practice does help me to improve at speed painting! Just to explain, the aim of the Urban Sketchers movement is to record what you see, record the world one sketch at a time!

Virtual Sketching during the First Lockdown.

A watercolour sketch of a peaceful harbour in Iceland.  Virtual sketching.
A Port in Greenland

Now, this is the first virtual sketch that I did back in April last year. Unfortunately, the people who put this group together decided to close it after a few months. But I really enjoyed taking part. And I virtually strolled around in Greenland, Venice and Manchester on Google Earth. We were instructed to sit in front of the laptop and imagine being at the scene. Also, I had to use my travel sketching set and work to the same fairly short timetable as when outside. So I did! Actually, it felt a bit odd to start with. But I gradually relaxed into it. If you remember, the first Lockdown in the UK was very strict, and this was a way of getting out! At least in my imagination.

Going out sketching with Urbansketchers Yorkshire

Sketching in Knaresborough

Finally, I sketched this on Saturday when we ‘went’ to Knaresborough together in North Yorkshire. To tell the truth, as I looked up images of this charming place online I realised something. And I thought about how difficult it has been for many people never going more than a short distance from home. But, of course , keeping everyone as safe as possible is the priority. Anyway, I chose to draw the entrance to a famous visitor attraction in Knaresborough – Mother Shipton’s Cave. Apparently, she was a recluse who lived in a cave on this limestone river gorge. And she made a name for herself seeing into the future, the predictions being written down for us to see today.

And I completed the sketch quickly, with my basic watercolour set (see here) and I tried to imagine myself en plein air. It’s the next best thing to being there. Thank goodness for daydreaming! If you want to see my sketch of Wentworth Old Church ( within permitted visiting distance), see here .

9 Replies to “Virtual Sketching with Yorkshire Urbansketchers”

  1. Really liked all the bits of extra info related to each pic, but esp liked the top image, lots of suggested detail and even more a real sense of feel of the place! And from a balcony view no less! Virtual sketching on the other hand, is something I’ve done lots and lots of over the years simply cause I had a photo I’d taken of a spot, and either I couldn’t return to it, or the scene itself (fall colors, etc) had changed away. I used to get so frustrated, not being able to see and capture things I remembered in feeling, but couldn’t quite get visually. Eventually, slowly, I’ve come to accept I do often create an “interpretation” of the place, often with more of my original emotional response to the scene than I’d first realized. So glad I saw your post, Margaret! 😊 Tweeted!

    1. Thank you, Felipe. Yes, standing above the scene at the market was so inspiring! I do agree that just using a photo can be frustrating. Like you say, you remember how you felt but not all the details of how it looked. I’m trying to train my visual memory now – maybe I can improve it a bit. Thanks for the tweet!

    1. Thank you, Tiffany. I’ve just been out sketching in the country park this morning- I can’t seem to stop!

Let me know what you think !