It was a surprisingly balmy October day, urban sketching in Sheffield with the talented folk of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, taking in the sights of Sheffield.
In my sketchbook: Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield Winter Garden (this was also my Inktober offering of the day, more on that later), The Globe Inn on Howard Street and a quick attempt at a horribly complicated panoramic view of Park Hill/Electric Works/Midland Station from Sheffield Hallam University stairwell.
I always like to carry a sketch kit around with me just in case I happen to have the urge to draw. This often means I’m switching bags and kit around and losing things, and generally lugging all kinds of weight around unnecessarily. I’ve seen a few DIY watercolour kits on the internet (probably Pinterest, let’s be honest) and the ones in Altoids tins looked perfect for what I needed, plus those little tins look really cool. Finding an Altoids tin in the UK turned out to be the biggest challenge but – top tip – I (my lovely, thoughtful bf) tracked a couple down for me by the checkout at Morrisons.
Once I’d munched my way through all the Altoids, which became quite addictive after a few days, I tried to be as minimal as possible with refilling the tin. So I’ve just glued in three primary (ish) half-pan colours that I had kicking around (Talens/Rembrandt Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium yellow, plus a Winsor & Newton Ultramarine), leaving space for a tiny Kuretake pocket water brush, and a square of kitchen roll. The lid of the tin works as a mixing palette.
Now I can put an A6 sketchbook, small Moleskine notebook, Tombow pen and mechanical pencil AND a set of watercolours in a small waterproof zip-up case, and just throw it in whatever bag I’m taking out. Very handy. Below are all the colours that I’ve discovered that I can make from those three colours so far. This was a mostly very unscientific process, except that I definitely wanted a dark grey, a couple of purples, a grass green and yellow ochre so I’m pleased I know that I can make those if I need to.
I must have walked on Burbage moor a thousand times but I don’t think I’ve been on Stanage edge for years, which is pretty terrible considering how often I drive past it and subconsciously take in its outline. It was forecast to be a nice afternoon so I decided to remedy that. (Click on the panorama below to view larger!)
I walked along the edge and took in views of most of the walks I did last week, including the Great Ridge and Dennis Knoll which you might be able to make out on my sketch above. I don’t think either the sketch or my iPhone photos do justice to how beautiful it was out there today – there was a breathtaking view from the trig point as the sun came out which I failed to capture, but I’m glad I was there to see it!
Owler Tor from Stanage
The Great Ridge (left) from Stanage
To Higger Tor
Sketch done, I walked back along the edge, down from the trig point and across the road to Higger Tor before heading back through the blossoming heather to Burbage bridge.
On the way home from Eyam yesterday I stopped for a quick walk at Longshaw Estate. Longshaw Lodge was originally the hunting lodge for the Dukes of Rutland. I won’t give the game away, but it features in ‘The Secret Rooms’ by Catherine Bailey, which is a good read if you are interested in fancy houses and historical mysteries.
Brontë fans: if you fancy staying a few days at Longshaw you can rent the old gamekeepers cottage, White Edge Lodge which is a landmark in the area and was used in the 2011 (Fassbender) version of Jane Eyre.
Duke’s Seat is a lovely outcrop of rocks that is popular with swallows and sheep. It is also the perfect spot to sit and sketch the view :)
Don’t let the bleak images on the National Trust website put you off visiting Eyam Hall. The Jacobean manor house has been let to the Trust on a 10 year lease and the family apparently only moved out in February, so I think it was a rush job to get some photographs up.
Hall from the walled garden
Front of the hall
Sketch in progress
It was just a flying visit today and I only took quick photos of the garden, but I am definitely planning another visit over the summer; if nothing else, there’s a lovely shady spot on the bowling green that I’ve got my eye on:
Monday: Day one of my holiday! Sketchbook in hand, I set out from Dennis Knoll, underneath Stanage Edge, on the short walk to North Lees Hall. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to see anything, because it started off really misty, but it soon cleared as I descended into the valley.
Possibly a very important note
Woodland is regenerating
North Lees Hall <3
North Lees Hall was Charlotte Bronte’s inspiration for Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre. Apparently it was used in one of the many film adaptations too, but I’m not sure which one. You’re welcome. Google it? Anyway, it’s on my shopping list for when we win the Euromillions.
I stopped to attempt to draw the sheep on the drive back home. I probably didn’t take enough caution of the lambs though, as three of them had set up camp underneath my car by the time I’d finished.