Art Outdoor Sketching

20 April – 11 May | 10-12.30pm | Tutor Karen Lester | £60 (4 weeks)

Sketch outdoors, finding inspiration at the beautiful location of the National Trust’s St Catherine’s Estate near Windermere.

Using a variety of media create a sketchbook of images from direct observation of the natural landscape and develop some of these images further on a larger scale either back inside the centre or outdoors.

What will the course or workshop cover and how will it be taught? 
We will look at ways to –

  • Optimise materials and equipment to suit outdoor sketching, which is often limited by weather conditions.
  • Discover how to make ‘useful’ sketches, which can be worked up and developed into larger pieces of work.
  • Ways to record colour with paint and pencils
  • Consider composition and cropping

Your tutor will guide and support you throughout the course using demonstrations, discussion, example work and handouts. Participants are encouraged to experiment with the emphasis very much on individual practical experience. There will be opportunities to discuss results individually and in the group.

What do I need to bring with me?
For the first session we will start with some tonal studies. Please bring –

  • Pencils, ideally soft pencils, from the B range. Pencils specifically for ‘Drawing’ work best, ideally ones with a thick core work well. Avoid the cheap variety packs! Graphite sticks or pencils are also good.
  • Charcoal
  • Sketchbook – Roughly A4 size (or bigger) Landscape format is good with good quality cartridge paper (that can take water)
  • Cartridge paper A3 size
  • Board / thick card to rest paper on. (look for the hardboard backs in old picture frames)
  • Masking tape
  • Rubber and sharpener.
  • Camera – (phone camera is fine) useful to enable to work on drawings later
  • Something to sit on such as a lightweight Cushion, or folding chair
  • A rucksack or bag
  • There will be refreshments at the footprint but you may want to bring a drink to take with you when we are outside
  • Please also be prepared for the weather, so some sturdy shoes and layers to keep warm, waterproofs will be needed or if its sunny, suncream may be required!

Keep things light as you will be carrying materials!

In the second week colour will be introduced using watercolour paint and watersoluble drawing materials. Your tutor will discuss materials in more depth on the first session

The aim is to be outside for most of the sessions (weather permitting) so please be prepared for this.

We will be walking around Footprint and this will include uphill sections and uneven paths, which may be difficult for those with limited mobility. Please contact the office to discuss any concerns about mobility.

Tea and coffee are provided.

Are there any additional costs?


Location and Access
This course takes place at Footprint, St Catherine’s Estate, Windermere, a National Trust property. Participants do not need to be National Trust members to attend. Please visit the following link for more information about this unique eco building, the first straw bale building in Cumbria

There is a small car park and free parking is available while on the course but do consider car sharing or public transport: to get here

Address: Footprint Building, Patterdale Road, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1NH

Please contact the Adult Learning Team on 01539 722833 Ext 273/275 if you wish to discuss any specific needs or email

About the tutor

Karen enjoys working with a range of painting and drawing media, including printmaking, sometimes combining these to create mixed media images. Each type of medium brings its own exciting possibilities and unique qualities, something she continually explores.

Her interest in Printmaking developed at Kendal College whilst completing a Foundation Degree in Drawing with the University of Cumbria.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Cumbria and Lancashire over the last 25 years and she has been involved with projects including Printfest and C-Art and runs occasional print workshops for the National Trust at Allan Bank, Grasmere as well as for private groups.

Karen is an experienced qualified teacher and has been teaching in the adult education sector since 2011

Karen Lester


The Brewery Arts Centre
122a Highgate


Box Office 01539 725133 Admin 01539 722833

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