Scrawl Crawl at York Minster

Yesterday I tagged along for a scrawl crawl round York Minster. Lots of perpendicular, angular geometry and the general vast scale made it quite a daunting venue for sketching. I couldn’t stay the whole day, which was a shame, but I did get a few bits and pieces down on paper…


First I was overawed by all the arches and scale and the incredible depth of field of the place and went straight for sketching a huge archway with windows and inner arches and general architectural complication, as if in an attempt to try and capture the entire Minster on paper, a bit like a kid in a sweet shop who wants everything at once. 


Having failed to capture the entire Minster on paper and having realised what a futile attempt my first sketch had been to do that, I reverted to the notion that there is beauty also in the small things, and I focused right down on this little plinth in front of me, which was just a few inches across. 


Then I got tired of trying to be so controlled and precise and so I went a bit more scribbly and less exact for this nicely curving staircase that had been in front of me for longer than could be ignored. 


Then we moved location and I got chatting to Maureen Lynas and didn’t do much sketching for a while, though I did attempt this rather stubby stone angel.


And finally this interesting box caught my attention and even though it was just a donations box it looked kind of mysterious and even slightly ominous, and it got my imagination going. 

And that’s my Minster sketch crawl in a nutshell. From the sublime to the box. An adequate metaphor for my descent from the impossible desire to capture the entire Minster in pencil to the realisation that a small locked box constrained by metal bands and planted heavily and squarely on the ground was the only thing satisfactorily within my reach.

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