Its always great to sketch in a new place, especially one with history and character, so when one of the Manchester Urban Sketching Group organized a trip to her home town-Kendal in Cumbria yesterday, I was keen to make the trip. It’s always great to see what you can capture of the place and to see a place with your own eyes after seeing it through other local sketchers eyes.Like a true urban sketcher, I love to travel and visit other places to draw so we set off early to get there in good time for our meet up at the Brewery Arts Centre.
I always have good intentions to do a series of thumbnails before identifying key scenes when I arrive in a new place but it often doesn’t quite happen that way! Yesterday was no different! It was very grey and threatening rain when we arrived but as soon as I saw the Leyland Motors clock in the gardens of the Brewery Arts Centre I had to sketch it! (Previously cited on the A6 at Shap, it was one of a number of clocks placed at various locations in prominent positions on the roads). It was moved to the Brewery in 1973.
By that time, others were arriving from Manchester and elsewhere so the colour on this one was added later. After catching up with a few people and getting some recommendations of good places to sketch, we headed down the main street to check out the numerous yards with fantastic views, (a sort of Andalucian side streets in the UK and without the climate!). We were particularly taken with the Shakespeare theatre in a yard behind the Shakespeare pub. I was taken with the lovely chalky stone and its muted tones, and a great ascending view. This one is colour –first and not helped by the rain shower half way through, but we managed!
We headed back to the Arts Centre for an interim meet up, throw down and some rather good singing (from local singers not the urban sketching group!) . Unusually for me, despite the crowds, I was so taken with the buildings and feelings of the place, I didn’t spend time drawing people at this point! This one is a relatively quick (20 min) sketch, taking advantage of the raised vantage point above the gardens, colour was added later. I really do like the rooftop views!
Fortunately our host, familiar with the surroundings, then led us through residential housing to a wonderful vantage point above the town, where we were able to sketch as a group. This was an interesting perspective, including a key street leading to Kendal Town Hall, lots of rooftops and a view beyond to the green fields and trees. All rather idyllic although the roof top scene was a quite a complicated one! This one is another colour first which I always finds helps with a complex view, probably because it encourages a looser approach. I decided to make this image one of my #ThisPlace series of framed originals and I am pleased to say that it is already reserved! You can read about the series here.
By this time it was ready to go our separate ways but of course being mid afternoon it would have been crazy not to find a café (Brew Brothers) for some afternoon tea! And once sitting down, with tea in hand, it would have been even crazier not to sketch some of the interesting clientele. This time, unusually for me, I used 2B pencil.
It was a great day but I feel I have only just made a very small start on drawing this lovely town. I will be back!