Saturday, September 19, 2009

24th Worldwide SketchCrawl

SketchCrawl 24 was difficult for me here in Muscat as we still have high daytime temperatures (today 33c with 75% humidity) and it is still Ramadan so there are no cool coffee shops or restaurants to retreat to. I headed out early to avoid the worst of the heat. Luckily for me, Saturday is normally a working day, but this one is part of the Eid break, so I was able to take part in my first SketchCrawl.

Location 1: Mutrah Fish Market   I have never been here so I thought it would be a good starting point. I made a  few quick sketches of the men removing fish from their nets, and a local cat, who had also managed to remove a fish. Then it was off inside the market itself. I was pleasantly surprised as it did not smell and there were a few other women about, although not many. Feeling intimidated, I took a few photos, and then sat down to draw... but as sweet Omani men kept coming up to talk to me the results were not very satisfactory, and I scurried back outside again. There, I thought I really ought to draw some fish, which I located on the back of a pickup and then I drew some watermelons, also on a pickup. All the sketches can be seen on flickr here.

Location 2: Across the harbour  Already feeling very hot and sticky after an hour at the market, I drove across to the otherside of Mutrah. Whilst sitting in the car's AC I furtively swigged a little water, feeling like an alcoholic hiding my drinking, as it is not allowed to drink, eat, or smoke in public during Ramadan. I settled on a bench and tried to decide what to draw (and also took this photo self-portrait at the same time). I decided to paint a heavily laden cargo ship opposite. The painting is unfinished because after I had been working on the picture for about half an hour some tugs came along and took my subject away and out to sea. You can just about see the white of the tug in the photo and my quick sketch of it at the top of my sketchbook.

So, after a quick cool off in the car, it was off to my final location, in the middle of Mutrah Corniche.

Location 3: Mutrah Souq  Just inside the entrance was a conveniently placed bench, so I sat down and drew what was opposite me. Their were lots of Omanis in the market getting last minute Eid gifts, and only a few tourists. I was lucky to have this Omani lady stop long enough for me to include her in my picture. The two stalls sold different things, which is unusual for the souq. On the left, the man was selling pashminas for the tourists, and traditional Omani dress including dishdashas & kumahs (embroidered hats). Whilst, on the right they were selling traditional canes, baskets, and incense.

After nearly 3 hours, I stopped drawing as I was starting to feel very dehydrated and in need of a shower due to the humidity, and so I finished my first SketchCrawl. Although I really enjoyed myself this morning, hopefully for the next one I will find someone to sketch with.