Sunday, July 27, 2014

WWSketchCrawl #44: London

44th WWSketchCrawl. Photo thanks to Isabel Carmona.
 Poor neglected blog. ... Here's the beginning of my attempt to catch up.

 The 12th July was WW SketchCrawl day (more info here) and being in the UK, I traveled up to London for the SketchCrawl arranged jointly by the meetup group Drawing London on Location and the Urban Sketchers from London and the Oxford Workshops.
Train people
 I started my day sketching people on the train using a blue Micron in the SeaWhite sketchbook. Then, at Charlies' Café in Portobello Road, I  met up with some sketchy friends, including some from Barcelona, and leant against the café to sketch from the shade. (Who would expect London to be hot in the summer?!)
Opposite Charlies' Café, Portobello Rd.
Photo thanks to James Hobbs
After a while, James, Nathan, Evelyn and myself, braved the huge mass of tourists in Portobello Road as we searched out both a shady spot and something to draw. The crowds kept blocking our view even as we sat behind the stalls.
I left the others in search of some food and headed off the main road where I met Emily sitting outside Biscuiteers. Ordering a cuppa, I joined her in sketching the Mediterraneo restaurant opposite.
Mediterraneo, Kensington Park Rd.
As it was almost time for the end of the sketchcrawl, I headed to meet the others at the Castle pub, Portobello Road, where we chatted about our day and shared our sketchbooks.
With Spanish sketcher Swasky. Photo J Hobbs
After the group photo of the sketchers who were still around, I headed home and did this final sketch of a man texting.
Did you participate in a sketchcrawl? You are welcome to leave a link to your blog post on it in the comments.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday

It's ThrowBackThursday and so here's a pencil sketch drawn on a Greyhound bus in Canada1987. I was urban sketching even then, just didn't know it :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

3 weeks in June: UK sketches

Armed with a new Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook, the 1st of June saw me in Muscat International departures. My assistant was also flying with me, but down in the hold, for a 3 month long trip in the UK. Killing time I sketched some of the people in the lounge and recorded this thought about the sketchbook: "I've not tried one before, but so far I'm impressed by how the ink goes on."
 I've been very busy with family stuff, so it was a week later I tried out watercolour in the Seawhite. On Facebook I wrote "I'm loving the Seawhite sketchbook so far. Lots of water and glazes on this, but the page has barely wrinkled. Shame the sketch is overworked."
The following day, Wilkin & Sons Ltd. (THE jam makers) had an open farm day. With so many changes, Degas didn't like being left so I popped there quickly and sketched the people tasting jams. I sat under a tree and added the colour before I dashed home
Next, was a sketch of me NOT watching the opening match of the World Cup football.
The following day, I went to London to attend the artists' evening at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Having just missed a train, I started to draw the footbridge between platforms. The next train arrived too soon, so on board I added the colour to the unfinished sketch.
At the RA later that day, I sketched the people enjoying the sunshine and drinks in the courtyard.
 The next evening England were playing their match and a neighbour had a pre-match barbeque. Feeling like a peeking Tom, I quickly sketched them from an upstairs window.
 The football theme continued with my next sketch - a slice of an England football cake.
and the next...
In between have been a few attempts to draw Degas, but she is loving the green fields and freedom and barely sits still. Here's a photo instead.
Goldhanger, UK 21 June
 What and where have you sketched this month? Why not tell me in a comment?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

EDiM Part 2

#19 A rope. Ink in A4 sketchbook.©Sue Pownall 2014
It's May 31st and the end of another Everyday in May daily challenge. I've completed 26 out of the 31 prompts. I've struggled with some especially as I've wanted to do locational drawings for some of them, but the daytime temperatures here have soared to a massive 50°C (122°F). 

Day 19, above, is one of my favourites. It is incomplete as I had almost finished this old, unloved, rope tug, when Degas decided it was the ONLY toy she had to play with. Right is Degas chewing HER rope.
This Chinese cloisonné vase came from a weekend in Beijing. The prompt was something bought on a trip, but I didn't actually buy it, as it was a gift at the factory we visited on the way to The Great Wall by a lovely American lady, who said I couldn't leave without it.
#30 Something bought on a trip ©Sue Pownall 2014

Days: 17, 18, 20, 21 attempts 2 & 3, 23, 25, 26, 27, and 31 ©Sue Pownall 2014
Below is day 29's something in my favourite colour. It is easy to guess my favourite colour just by looking at the work over this month. This blue glass is part of a set I received as a secret santa present and is filled with blue & white sea glass collected  from the beach near my house. I had fun with this using Inktense pencils and watercolour.
#29 Something in my favourite colour ©Sue Pownall 2014
Which of my challenge results do you like best? Why not leave a comment below to tell me?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Preparations for the summer

Ghala Industrial Estate, Muscat
With only 8 sleeps until I leave Oman for the summer, I'm busy sorting out my art equipment to pack. I wanted another yellow and have to thank Liz Steel ( for her great advice. Until I can get to a decent art suppliers, I've raided the Van Gogh watercolour set, which was a gift from last year's Urban Sketchers symposium. I want to test drive some colour choices... I prefer to spend time sketching than mixing colours... plus I've evicted the Winsor & Newton Payne's Grey tube squeezed into an empty halfpan (left of photo) to try the Van Gogh version.
I've had this watercolour box since art college.
Having added new colours, I wanted to paint, so took my sketchbook and paints to the day job. During lunch I sketched from an upstairs window. I didn't realise until I sketched this view, that the cement factory is on a different level. That's the beauty of urban sketching, you really see details.

 I discovered that the Van Gogh Paynes Grey's pigment is less blue than the W&N's. I need to do some more paintings to decide on my final pan, but do like the blueness of W&N.
Which do you prefer? W&N, Van Gogh, or someone else's Payne's Grey? Please tell me in a comment.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Everyday in May 2014: part 1

#8 Something with a mirror image
 As I mentioned in my 1st May post, I'm participating in the Everyday in May (EDiM) daily challenge, which I first did in 2010. As we are halfway through, and I've only skipped 3 challenges so far, I thought I'd post the drawings to date.

Day 8, something with a mirror image, is one of my favourite so far. Degas often sits on the bed and plans mischief with her evil twin. Yesterday's mischief included chewing on the palm tree in the garden. Ink & watercolour from photo reference in A5 sketchbook.
#15 Biscuit
  Day 15, painted today, is another personal favourite. The prompt was "cookie", which in British English is biscuit. The only biscuits in my house are Degas' and I am pleased with the looseness of this pen & watercolour sketch.

Although Degas is a terrible scavenger - dead fish, fish bones, and chicken being her favourites - she takes her time eating her biscuits. She has a terrible habit of getting a mouthful, carrying them to the lounge and dropping them on the mat.
I think she prefers to eat in the same room as me, even though she can see me from the kitchen.

Below are my other drawings to date. As you can see, I've have been experimenting with techniques and materials from the very precise to loose with ink, pencils and/or paint.
Days: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 13,14 & 16

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Recording Britain Now

Into the Shadows. Ink. 30 x21 cm. ©Sue Pownall 2014
 This is a drawing that has lurked in my head for a few years. It first emerged as a drawing for Illustration Friday's theme crooked in September 2012 (whole post here there-was-crooked-man). I wrote then
"The stile is actually an element in a idea for a drawing I've been toying with for a couple of years, so maybe now I will start on it."
 Obviously it took a bit longer to get started on that drawing...  not until 1st March 2014 when I thought it would be perfect for the John Ruskin Prize: Recording Britain Now. I submitted the drawing on 2nd April, and heard yesterday that it had not been selected for the shortlist. Knowing 588 artists entered does not stem my disappointment.

This drawing is for sale. Please contact me if you are interested on:
studio (at)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A week of sketches

 First, 23rd April and trying to paint the stormy sunset with Degas on the lead on Qantab beach looking west to the mountains.

Next, 24th April, Sultan Qaboos Highway & Ministries District from NTI building in Al Khuwair. It is unfinished, there are buildings missing in the background, as I had to go to a meeting. 
Then that evening, I drew the peel of an Egyptian clementine.
Finally, today 1st May, and the first of the EDiM (Everyday in May) challenges: a window. This is my kitchen window through the kitchen door.

All in my Stillman & Birn, Gamma series, A5 sketchbook. A free gift at last year's USk Symposium.

If you want to join in EDiM, the facebook group is here.
The flickr group is here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sketch Muscat for Charity & WWSketchCrawl #43

Nonwaterproof ink & watercolour

Saturday was my fourth annual charity event. It started with an idea from Enrico Casarosa, creator of Worldwide SketchCrawl, who suggested that the 2011 April SketchCrawl should be a benefit drawing marathon for Japan's Tsunami relief. I arranged an event in Doha and on a rainy day, a small group of us gathered to sketch. With sponsorship and donations from participants, we raised US$470.
1 cityscape, 3 versions
After the success of that event, I decided to do something annually choosing a different charity each time. 
In 2012, I organised Sketch Muscat to raise funds for the Omani Cancer Association. I chose a cancer charity partially as a local charity (I'd moved countries) but mainly as I had a friend who was going through treatment for breast cancer and it is partially due to her awareness and quick action (& good medical treatment) that she received an all-clear. That time US$430 was raised.
The crane drove off before I could finish!
Last year, I chose a small local charity, Awladna, to raise funds for their children's road safety campaign. We raised a massive US$530 with which the charity bought children's bicycle helmets. Which leads me to this year and helping more children, but this year the funds are in aid of UNICEF's #ChildrenofSyria appeal. Living in the Middle East this is something that is regional, but I feel we should help to stop children's suffering wherever we live. 
With Alexandra Höpfner of MuscArt at Sketch Muscat for Charity
As this year seems hotter than the last two, I approached the gallery manager of MuscArt to see if I could use their gallery as the venue, which the owner quickly agreed too. It is a great space with duel aspect windows on to the cityscape and we set up still-lifes inside too. I love that my Sketch Muscat events attract children. This was by Khalid, aged 12
and this by 5 year old Dareen.
As well as collecting at the event, I set up a donation site, which remains open until July.
 So far I've raised $276 (£164.50) there, but would appreciate more donations. Please click the link:

Here are the event totals:
 The donation site funds go direct to: UNICEF UK 
The money raised at the event will be presented by cheque to UNICEF Middle East and North Africa 's Oman office. 

 WWSketchCrawl #43: 

As people here are reluctant to visit different locations to sketch, I did a quick sketch at home before I nervously went to see if anyone would turn up for the event. On my return, I got out my sketchbook but Degas demanded attention after being left all day, so I ended up with a 2 point SketchCrawl. I used Van Gogh watercolours (from #uskbcn2013) as my W&N were already packed in my bag. The actual painting is a lot brighter than it seems in this photo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Garden pARTy

 I issued an invitation to some of my friends to a little art event at my home. Although it was a garden party, as this year is incredibly hot already, we were inside.
   My lovely friend Elena is a choreographer and former ballerina and I asked her if she would model for us. Over the afternoon we sketched a series of short poses 1, 5 and 10 minutes, which really made us focus.
 My assistant was very keen to help and checked drawings, equipment, stopped Elena getting bored, (photos on facebook page) and even did some modeling. Unfortunately she couldn't hold a pose for more than 5 seconds.
Quick pose from Elena & Degas (5 seconds)
Quick pose 2 (2 seconds)
I used Inktense pencils in an A4 Daler Ebony sketchbook and Elena is so flexible that some poses she struck seemed impossible, and looked very strange in the drawings, even when accurate.
Elena with disconnected arm.
My fundraiser in aid of UNICEF's #childrenofsyria appeal is this Saturday!
Full details are here: SketchMuscatforCharity

See you there or you can donate here on my UNICEF Fundraiser page: