Monday, July 27, 2015

A Sketcher at Tavistock Edge

A small section of the flash choir.
As mentioned in my previous post, we were down in Devon to sketch the new Tavistock Edge event. My assistant was an absolute star, so we spent virtually all day at the event.
My assistant and I
First up was a flash choir in the Pannier Market. Naturally, I knew where and when this was occurring and found a bench to sit on, although hadn't planned on the huge crowd blocking my view. The sound was lovely and Degas was happy as long as she had her pig's ear and no-one stood on her paws or tail.

Next up, we wandered to the Buskstop, and sketched The Diggurz, who list the genre as roots/redneck/celtic. Degas was fantastic even having a little dance at one point. There is one sketch below, to see the rest please head over here.

Guitarist of the Diggurz.
From the Buskstop, we wandered down the road to see the Lodestone Border Morris group. Degas found the stick bashing a problem, yet still stayed for a couple of dances. I'm really pleased with the sketch as I tried to focus on the colour and movement. What do you think?
Lodestone Border Morris
 Finally, we wandered to St Eustachius' churchyard where there was a whole afternoon of entertainment. My favourite was Miss Von Trapp who describes herself as "Murderously Quirky Dark Cello Cabaret: Morbidly Vaudeville Songs, Cabaret Numb...ers and Performance Poetry to revolt and entertain..." and I thought she was brilliant.
My assistant checks out Mis Von Trapp
I certainly hope the festival will continue next year as we had a great time. To see all the sketches please go here.What do you think of my sketches? Have you sketched somewhere similar? Please leave a comment as I love to receive them.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Devon doodles

Trying to capture the evening sun.
Having an invitation to a new fringe event in Devon, Tavistock Edge, I decided my assistant and I would have a holiday beforehand and found a cottage for us just on the edge of Dartmoor. I did lots of sketches throughout the week. I was especially fascinated with the cattle in the next field, as was Degas, so I drew them as she barked at them.

Here are some of the landscapes:
8th July Morning rain
A very quick sketch of Cox Tor as my assistant was impatient to explore.

Here is a selection of the animal sketches:
5th July Calves in evening showers.
More cattle.
You can see more here: Great landscapes & animals.

I'll post the Tavistock Edge sketches next Sunday.
What do you think of my sketches? I'd love it if you left me a comment below. 
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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Where was I?

Accepting Braintree Chamber prize
This year I've been entering a few exhibitions, and have been quite successful. 
Last month, I entered and was juried into the Braintree Open AND I won the Braintree Chamber prize.
Storm over the Saltings hung at Braintree Open.
 Also, in Braintree, I was chosen to have a painting in the Art Trail.

Wentworth House, in position in the art trail.
Finally, I had a painting juried into the Harwich Open.
Broken Dreams hung in the Harwich Open.
So that's where you could find me in June. What were you up to? You can tell me in a comment to this post.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Big Draw Colchester

From the morning's sketching of St Botolph's Priory. ©Sue Pownall 2015
Yesterday, CO3 Gallery in Colchester arranged a Big Draw event, which I attended. We were based near a sponsor, Tindalls Art Store in Trinity Street, but spread out through the town. I wanted to draw St Botolph's Priory as I hadn't drawn it since I was at college in the town. Once again, my colours have come out brighter than usual due to the sunlight, and yes this is England.

After heading back to base, I joined Colchester artist Colin David McAllister on a doorstep with a great view of an old Tudor building, which is now Tyndalls' café. The waitress was great and kindly served tea where we were rather than at a table. Afterwards, I went  into the rose garden, initially to paint roses, but instead captured the gable-end.
Photo by Angella Horner.
All too soon it was time for those left to gather for a group photo and to share their sketches. I'm not too sure why there are Spanish flags behind us - perhaps because we'd stolen their sunshine for the day.

Sketches from at Tymperleys ©Sue Pownall 2015
There was not any cider in my sketch kit this week. I used an A4 Monologue sketchbook with Staedtlar pigmentliners and Winsor & Newton watercolours. It was a lovely day sketching with new people and I look forward to sketching with them again.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Urban sketching in Halesworth

St Mary's graveyard, Halesworth. ©Sue Pownall
Yesterday, was the 2nd meeting of the Essex and Suffolk sketchers out at the picturesque village of Halesworth. The venue was chosen as a member had an exhibition there.
My sketching kit

We were very lucky with the weather as the rain didn't start until we were on our way home. We started at the church and then I found a seat outside the White Swan, where I sat and drew the old alms houses. I think the wonky perspective is partially due to wonky building and a lot due to the cider. Next up was a quick sketch over a bowl of organic asparagus soup, then it was time to meet and share our sketches over a cuppa.

Wonky cider-aided perspective. ©Sue Pownall
Lunchtime sketch at Focus Organic
 here are lot more sketching events coming up. You can see the Essex & Suffolk ones here: Essex&SuffolkSketchers or you could send me a message.

Where have you sketched lately?

Sunday, June 7, 2015


May brings the Everyday in May challenge and yet again I participated. The first time I tied this challenge was in 2010, and you can see the results spread over the May posts here. I then participated again in 2013 and 2014, and you can the see the results by clicking the EDiM tag in the side panel here. 
In 2010, I was living in Sudan and finished 30/31 but the peaceful life I led there helped. This year I finished just 22/31. Why? I found some prompts very uninspiring and some I just didn't get time for due to attending a print course,  sketching events, my mother's health, and Degas. Furthermore, I have learnt that I still don't put my art before everything else and I do not have the self discipline to sketch daily (especially when uninspired). Right now, as I type this post, I have 2 illustrations that need finishing, so I shall write no more and let a selection of the drawings speak for themselves. 
Please let me know which are your favourites, there are more images on my site here. If you participated, why not leave a link to your posts, so I can check them out.
#‎31 Egg.
Those of you who follow my work know I rarely do anything from imagination. However, today my fridge and cupboards look like Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboards, so Humpty Dumpty was the only thing to paint.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Stade Jean-Bouin, Pen & watercolour, A5 sketchbook. ©Sue Pownall 2015
Love this sign at the entrance to Roland Garros.
This year, I was fortunate to get a ticket for Roland Garros and last Wednesday saw me dropping my assistant at her sitter and me catching a plane to Paris. Friends live near the stadium, overlooking the Stade Jean Bouin, the home of Paris rugby. It was the subject of my pre-breakfast sketch before going to Roland Garros.

I had a ticket for the centre court and Goerges & Wozniacki were playing as I took my seat. I'm not so keen on ladies tennis, so took the opportunity to try and capture the movement of their serves using my multi-coloured pencil. Unfortunately, I pressed very lightly and cannot get a copy to share. Next, having realised you could see the Eiffel Tower from my seat, I then sketched the stand and view. I drew directly in ink and then added the watercolour.

Roland Garros center court Philippe Chatrier ©Sue Pownal
After that, I didn't do any more sketching as the tennis was too exciting: Rafa Nadal V Almagro, Murray V Sousa, and on court 7, Ferrer V Gimeno-Traver.

Ferrer serves. ©Sue Pownall
However, the next day I arrived at the metro about 15 minutes early, so did a quick last sketch before heading to the airport. 
Commuters at Port d'Auteuil: metro & bus.
Now the question is: Where to next?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Jumbo Start

"Jumbo" Ink in A4 sketchbook. ©Sue Pownall 2015
Recently, Sarah from The Connection Magazine and I started a new urban sketching group the Essex & Suffolk Sketchers, with the aim to become an official chapter of the UrbanSketchers.
Lunchtime show & tell

We decided to start big, drawing at Colchester's old water tower, locally called Jumbo, and the first meeting was last Sunday. It was a lovely sunny day, albeit cold in the shade, and we had a great turn out.

We spent the first part of the day sketching around Jumbo and the Mercury Theatre, then after a lunch break moved onto the grounds of the Colchester Art Centre. It was a lovely day and everyone seemed enthusiastic about sketching again soon.

Below are my sketches (photos from the day are here). I'd love to hear what you think in a comment below. Thanks.

My 1st sketch, Balkerne Gate.
A sketch from the 2nd location.
I stopped for a cuppa, which came in a glass cup & had to be sketched.
 Essex & Suffolk sketchers. Find and like us on facebook:

Next meeting is June 20th, 12noon St Mary's Church, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8LL

Monday, May 18, 2015


Silo D, watercolour in A4 sketchbook.
Just over a week ago, I was fortunate enough to be one of eight London Urbansketchers invited to draw at the Silvertown redevelopment site. I didn't realise there were still areas of London Docklands, which were not all sparkly and new. However, Silvertown is a huge wasteland, with remnants of the recent London Olympics, the huge Millennium Mill (previous millennium not this one), a grade 2 listed grain silo, lots of rubble, street art, and wildlife.
You can read about the mills redevelopment here on the BBC.

We were not allowed into the mill as there is currently a massive operation to remove asbestos, but we decked out in hi-vis vests and allowed to spread out throughout the site.
It's not often you need a hi-vis jacket as part of your sketching kit, is it?
Silo D detail. ©Sue Pownall
 With a Payne's Grey sky and a bitterly cold wind, I wandered around to find a place to start. The mill itself was too daunting for a first sketch, so instead I ended up sat up a grassy bank, part of the old Olympic London Pleasure Gardens, to sketch the silo. With it's predominantly white facade, I started with the Payne's Grey, with a touch of indigo, sky to outline its bulk. 

The wind was so cold, despite my layers of fleece, I seriously considered leaving, but opportunities like this are rare, so I continued until it was time for lunch, where we all huddled in a patch of sun behind a corrugated fence for shelter.

With patches of sunshine, it was time to tackle the mill... I was drawn (excuse the pun) to the street art and decided to try and capture a snippet of that along with the large painted advert on one face of the mill. 

I started loosely in pencil, to try not to get to caught up in details, then added watercolour. I'm not sure how successful it was. What do you think?

 Finally, I wanted to capture a little of the current work, sketching the scaffolding and sign, but I was cold and not concentrating by that point, and so it remains hidden in my sketchbook.

Urbansketchers and photographers have been invited to record the redevelopment of the site as it progresses over the years, which is why we were there, and I hope I am one of the ones who gets to go back again. Finally, a big thank you to James Hobbs who organised the day. Check out his report and amazing Silvertown sketches here: Silvertown's Dereliction.
Millennium Mills, finally in sunshine, seen from the bridge to Custom House at Excel as I left.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Barcelona boats, bars, ballerinas...

Fleca Els Angels, Carrer D'Elisabets

 ... & some tennis.

Before last Saturday's Barcelona sketchcrawl, see my previous post here, I had spent a couple of days in the city. 

On Thursday, I went to the Barcelona Open, and got to realise a dream - to watch Rafael Nadal play in Spain whilst sat among a Spanish crowd. Mostly I was too busy watching the tennis to sketch, but I did manage the one below between matches.
Stadium at Real Club de Tenis Barcelona
Thursday was also Saint George's Day and everywhere people were handing out red roses. I was offered one first thing, but didn't accept as I was heading into the tennis stadium. I tried to sketch some in the Ramblas, but the crowds were massive and frequently obscured my view. The sketch is the best I achieved.
Las rosas di San Jordi.

The next day, I took an early morning walk and ended up at a café, where I'd had breakfast before the Urban Sketchers 2013 Symposium and had meant to sketch, so I did. (top).

Then it was on to the Maritime Museum where I sketched a traditional Catalan fishing boat.
Barca Catalana - Jean et Marie
Late afternoon, I headed off to join the group Inky Fingers, Barcelona who had arranged to draw the contemporary dance company Las Carmelas. 
Sketching Las Carmelas with Inky Fingers.

It was a real challenge trying to capture their movements as they danced. Thankfully they also did some short poses. I used a pad of tonal pastel paper and a multi-coloured single lead pencil. I can't wait to draw with this group again.