Sunday, December 26, 2010

Killer Heels

Killer Heels. Pencil A5 ©Sue Pownall 2010
Who's idea was it that women should stagger around in ridiculously high heels???? 

Those who know me well will testify that I rarely wear heels, let alone anything as preposterously high as these. However, these are just one of two pairs of killer heels, which I bought and have worn this month. So far I have succeeded in staying upright and not spread-eagled in a heap with a broken ankle or two; I'm not sure how I would manage back in icy Europe though.

This quick pencil sketch above was done on Christmas eve. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Bethlehem Star 130x130mm
Prompted by the Illustration Friday theme of Phenomenon (9th December), I thought it appropriate for the time of year to draw the celestial phenomenon of the Bethlehem star. Like the Magi, who arrived on 12th night (Epiphany), I thought I would finish this about then, after all, who draws a night sky with a 0.1 pen?? I was attempting a woodcut effect when I started, but it seems to have morphed, and yes I did end up using a 0.3 and 0.5 pen as well. This is the first time ever that I have drawn a Christmas illustration, so all I have to do is get it scanned properly and I have next year's cards! The reference photo was from a brilliant photo by Gary, which you can see here.

Merry Christmas everyone.
May God bless you and your family.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sketching on National Day

National Day flags at Souq Waqif.
Saturday was Qatar's National Day and the city had a buzz, a vibrancy, that was contagious. After walking along the Corniche where the military parade had taken place ( I missed the soldiers on camels unfortunately), I headed into Souq Waqif. Whilst wandering around the cool lanes I stopped at a locals' café. I bought a couple of cups of Karak, a tea made with boiled up with canned milk, sugar and cardamom, and drew the stall opposite with its National day flags and the large flag in the next alley.
Proof I painted in situ.
Wandering into a new (for me) area of town, I came across the fascinating building below, which I had to paint. Whilst I had paintbrush in hand, paints beside me, and sketchbook in hand, a security guard asked me in a mix of English and Arabic "This inte?" (Short for - Was this painted by you?). Had to bite my tongue not to give a sarcastic response.
Initial drawing.
Building in Al Najada area.
Finally, here are some of my favourite sights of the day...
Nearly all cars had flags etc... but how does the driver see?
Qatari flag coloured clothes.
Flag waving.
Yes this is moving traffic & kids sitting on cars!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Camel watching

Yesterday afternoon, I returned to Darb Al Sai's National day celebrations and drew these whilst watching the camel dressage - they had to negotiate around a course against the clock. A selection of photos are below.
Mimi, I didn't get the opportunity to draw the beautiful Arabian horses (from the Al Shaqab stud), but took some photos.
Please remember all images are © copyright of me, Sue Pownall. 
If you want to use any, please contact me first.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fidgetting camels...

Breakfast time.
 ... are a nightmare to try and sketch.
Breakfast II
However these are this mornings attempts done with pencil and watercolour in A5 Daler sketchbook.
Being ridden & faces.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2nd Doha SketchCrawl - 11th December

Pen & ink in A5 Daler sketchbook.
I found the 2nd Doha SketchCrawl a little disappointing. Despite calling for sketchers on several different forums, including the SketchCrawl official site, there were only 3 of us again last Saturday. On top of that, the others seemed more interested in chatting and relaxing, which is what a Saturday is about I guess. We drew the giant oyster on Doha's Corniche, which was our meeting point and is every tourist's first photo point. However, after that there didn't seem any good places to sit and draw the nearby dhows. This is my second failed attempt to sketch them, the first back in October was abandoned due to the high humidity, third time lucky perhaps?
1st Oct.  Being a tourist.

Then we headed into the souq for coffee. Whilst the others chatted I sketched a couple of people nearby, attempting to talk too, unfortunately the others' lethargy rubbed off and that was all I did.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Virtual Paintout - County Clare, Éire.

Shannon Estuary. Pen & ink 245x160mm
After drawings for the Muscat exhibition I want to do more pen and ink work. However, I want to experiment and try a looser style ~ a mix between the controlled finished pieces and my sketching style. This is the result from yesterday's attempt for Virtual Paintout.

The main purpose of Virtual Paintout is "to gather in one area of the world, virtually, once a month with other artists. To paint or draw a scene and composition of your choosing, within a predetermined area."  My previous VP entry was in April, you can see it here.

While the main rule is that "the artist must use a view found through Google Street View as the reference for the painting or drawing". Here is the map where I found my view, to the west of Limerick, in the Shannon Estuary.

© Google Maps
Check out the other County Clare pictures over at Virtual Paintout.

Friday, December 10, 2010

EDM 301 - Draw something cute

Isabelle's cat
Originally uploaded by travelingsuep
Sketched whilst staying with Isabelle in Muscat last weekend, Tom is certainly something cute.

Pen & watercolour in A5 Daler sketchbook.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Muscat exhibition

As I wrote in my last post, I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the Oman-Africa event to celebrate 40 years' rule by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. In the end I had 3 pieces hung of which you can see two in the picture above.

I think I'm not in a good place at the moment as even when I saw my pictures hung, I had negative thoughts...
  • The framing is wrong. The framers reduced the area of the pictures, not a problem on the 1st two, but I took the last one to my edges and had to trim it to get it in the mount. I was non-specific about sizes, and they cut a narrower mount than I envisaged, which I also didn't specify. Live and learn! 
  • They look so small. Everyone had huge paintings.
  • I shouldn't have brought the third piece as it's not as good as the other two. 
  • I should have worked harder and done more pieces.
  • The exhibition space is not good.
Maybe the reason I felt/feel like this is because I do have drawings hung in various peoples houses (not just my parents'), and I have done since I was at college, so to see my pictures hung was not really a new experience? Maybe if the event had only been an exhibition it would have seemed different?

15th Street Mosque, Khartoum
I know I need to change my thinking. I need to focus on the positive.
  • I took part in an exhibition.
  • I got some finished pieces done, instead of just sketching.
  • I do not know what interest may have been generated.
  • Everyone has to start somewhere.
  • The event was a success for the organisers. (I must stop being so egotistical in my positive thinking.)
Am I alone in this experience? Am I the only one who hasn't bounced for joy at their first exhibition? I would love to hear your experiences.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The secret...

...I'm exhibiting in Muscat on the 6th and 7th December, that's in one week, and it's my first ever! So now you now the reason for the art confidence crisis. At this point I must say a big THANKS to Sandra of Sandra Draws who's been at the receiving end of lots of emails and has written back all the nice things I needed to hear.

Anyway, I’m participating in a group show, which is part of a 2-day event to celebrate 40 years of His Majesty The Sultan of Oman’s rule. It is organised by the Oman-Africa group and will consist of art, culture, shows and entertainment.

Why am I participating? My Oman/African connection is that I fell in love with Sudan earlier this year, I’ve visited several African countries, I used to live in Oman, and, most importantly, I was asked. Thanks Martin! I will post the pictures after the event. There was a sneak preview of one drawing in progress in my last post and below are all three pieces in progress.
Works in progress.

The event is at the Oman Women's Association Hall, Qurum, Oman 
(nr Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Opera House), 
on 6th and 7th December, from 10-10pm daily. 
Pop by if you can.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Adventure is relative.

A very normal work area.

Peggy of Margaret Sterner Cox left a comment on my last post about my adventurous life and Cathy of Down a Dusty Lane commented on its foreignness. The reality is I have a normal life, just in somewhere a little different. I wrote about normality from Khartoum in my post Neglected and here in Doha it is a similar story.

Normally, I get up (at the silly-time of 5.20am), go to work, come home, watch tv, do computer stuff, eat, go to bed, early. On the weekends, Friday and Saturday, I get up, have several cups of tea, clean, do laundry, shopping... yawn, so uninteresting. Here in the Middle East the summer is too hot to do much, like winter in Europe you stay at home and hibernate as much as possible. However, in the winter, when the temperatures cool to a more manageable 20-something degrees, that's the time for events, sightseeing, meeting friends etc. hence the opportunities like the tennis tournament.
My very normal lounge.
What has changed, is that I permanently have a sketchbook in my handbag, which I use as much as possible. However, I carried it everywhere in England this summer, so I guess that's just a change in my reality and not part of the foreign adventure.

I am glad that I can share this part of the world with all of you, and show that there is more to the Middle-East than the media images of war and violence, and that the majority of people here, like anywhere in the World, are good, kind, gentle people.
Qataris and expats relaxing together under the stars.

However, I couldn't resist finishing thispost on normality with a little touch of the exotic.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cool enough to open the door...

... and turn off the a/c.

I have a light teaching load at the moment, and so sat in my office yesterday morning sketching the view through the door. I added colour at home last night, which the photo above has bleached out.
First, I sat on a desk by the door.
Then I sat at my desk.
Quiet strangely, it suddenly came over dark, we had several heavy showers, some thunder and lightning,  and then the sun came out again.
The re-emerging sun.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Some unpublished sketches.

Part of tree at work. 10 Nov

First let me thank everyone who commented on my last post after I had a mini-meltdown. I will reveal the cause in the next few days. For now here are a few sketches I've done in the last week.
Side table. 13 Nov.
Cameraman at the tennis. 16 Nov

Asian games mascots at tennis.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

DTFF & Dhow trip

Sketched Thursday night at DTFF.
On Friday, in the middle of this crazy week where there is both the WTA tennis championship on and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF), I had the opportunity to go out on a dhow (I added a photo for you Sandra below) with a great group of people.
A cute little dhow at Banana Island. Our boat was larger.
Some of my fellow cruisers.
I took the A5 sketchbook along too. Shortly after setting sail, once people had started to settle down, I sketched some of them. Marian asked do people see their sketches - well I openly sketched, I got a few complimentary comments from those around me, but those being sketched didn't bother to look. I think they were too relaxed.
A dhow moored near us, but moved before I finished.
Quick watercolour of Banana Island. (with mystery red corner)
Yesterday at DTFF I was privileged to have a ticket for the Middle East première of The First Grader. This film is the most moving, beautiful film I have ever seen. The cinematography, acting, and script are all superb. It was voted The Audience Award for Best Film, and it was thoroughly deserved. I gave it 5/5. At the Q&A afterwards the audience, after giving a standing ovation, were too stunned to ask anything. Justin Chadwick is one of the nicest, genuine, down-to-Earth men I've been lucky enough to meet. I met him outside the cinema afterwards and gushed how amazing I thought the film as tears still ran down my face; it is such an emotive film.
First Grader stars Naomie Harris and Oliver Musila Litondo with director Justin Chadwick.
The red carpet & entrance to cinema at DTFF.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WTA Championship Doha

Watching Vera Zvonareva and Victoria Azarenka match.
Last night, I went to watch the women's tennis championship here in Doha. The first 3 days are a round-robin competition. I had with me my A5 sketchbook and started off sketching as we waited for Vera Zvonareva and Victoria Azarenka to warm-up. To quote Al Jazeera International, it was "an uninspiring opening match", so I then sketched the picture above.

Before leaving home I had been looking at Marian Fotunati's blog, where she had written "the need to decide what you want to paint, then decide WHY you want to paint it". Now, I think sketching is slightly different from painting in that it is a personal thing, and not made for public display and sale - ok apart from on blogs- but this question of why was going through my mind as I drew the 2nd sketch. Why? - because I thought the guys waving the flag interesting.  Because she was in front of me. Because I could.
Watching the warm-up.
The final sketch was done whilst waiting for the Kim Clijsters v Jelena Jankovic match. The man with his binoculars caught my attention. Although we were not sat too high up he was watching the line judges, players prepare themselves, the crowd etc. through them. The foreshortening of his arm, due to him being across an aisle from me and also a few rows lower was the challenge, which I guess would also answer the why. The man behind kept resting his arm at a strange angle to his leg and so had to be included. This sketch was the most challenging, not due to those factors, but because the spectators kept walking down the aisle between us and blocking my view.
Binocular man.
Purple palms.