Urban Sketchers UK 2022

Kirkgate Market (c) Tim Gomersall 2022

From the 9th to the 11th of September, a group of artists descended on my home town of Leeds for the 2022 Urban Sketchers UK meetup. It is actually quite a rare thing for me to get out painting with other artists, so it was a real pleasure to watch other people’s processes and styles being brought to bear on what was, for me, familiar old material. I was also lucky enough to meet a few well known names in the scene – people like David Steeden, Pat Southern Pearce, and Anne Rose Oosterbaan, the latter of whom had travelled all the way from the Netherlands to be there for the weekend, and who joined me as I sketched the beautiful Kirkgate Market building (above). We got a lot of nice comments from passers-by, and I had a lot of fun adding some of the characters who came into our field of vision – particularly the stylish and aloof-looking girl in the sunglasses, and the chunky chap in his Iron Mike vest!

The organisers had some good local knowledge, so that we took in the most interesting spaces in the city. The time-limited nature of the sketching sessions was also very helpful. At most, we had a couple of hours to make our pieces, so everything I made had a spontaneous feel. This was particularly so with my sketch of the Civic Quarter on Sunday. I’d had to turn up late to the second day, so I had about half an hour to get something down. The result was a very loose and splashy sketch.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the weekend was the throwdown. Everyone’s work laid out together after a sketching session, revealing the very different way we all observed the same spaces. What we’d focused on, whether we’d focused on light, form, little details in the urban landscape or the bigger spaces.

And of course, the weekend had to finish at Granary Wharf, where a life-size animatronic dinosaur was holed up in front of the riverside buildings!

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