Sunday, January 30, 2011

IF Surrender

Surrender. Watercolour 240 x 320 mm. ©Sue Pownall 2011

Sometimes we have to surrender ourselves to the reality of life, that responsibilities occasionally stop us doing exactly what we would like to, when we want to. This IF prompt came on Friday whilst I was in the turmoil of trying to decide if I could take a job, which is nearer to where I want to be, mentally & spiritually, but had to resign myself to the fact that the next move/change would have to wait awhile yet.

Usually as a realist, I struggle with a theme like this, with my head filling with obvious images such as soldiers with their hands up surrendering to the other side etc., but this image was there instantly including how to illustrate it. Whilst I am surrendering to the inevitability of life's constraints which are out of my control, which feels like sinking beneath the sea, I can release my creative side to produce this loose, inaccurate colour painting as I break loose of my normal precise line drawings. Freedom.


Abandoned resolution. Pen &  ink 190 x 170 mm.©Sue Pownall 2011
First a note to the poor person looking for Eritrean men: there are none here. This weeks stats show another search result for "eritrean men", without cute this time, sending the poor person here. Oh well, I hope you liked the drawings.

The illustration above was done as an entry into Convozine's January illustration challenge. With only 2 days before the deadline I am not giving myself any chance to get a people's award, nor do I expect to win the competition. However, I entered as I need to increase my body of work and to keep publicising my name as an illustrator.  My Convozine January Challenge is here.   It is working too, as they are promoting my drawing on the site.

A while ago Frank of frankswatercolours asked about my Shropshire hen house drawing-
"I'm wondering how you went about this, a few lines all over and gradually build up or do you work on one small area at a time?". 
To answer, after an initial pencil drawing, I outline the whole picture with a pen. I realised that however carefully I do the initial drawing I do not see until I ink. Really, the pencil lines were virtually ignored as I drew the above. Next I build up in like sections eg. here the soles of both shoes, then shadows on the floor etc. As my drawings are between A4 - A3 in size I find it is important to build up the whole picture. With every drawing there is a point where it looks very amateurish, but I know I have to keep building up. Generally, there is a point where it could be called finished, but experience has shown that it still needs the tones strengthening. My new technique is to stick a drawing on the wall and keep coming back to it as I notice new things. Hope that helps you Frank.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

30th Worldwide SketchCrawl

Demolition. Pen & watercolour sketch A5. ©Sue Pownall 2011
Despite advertising on various forums, there were no sketch buddies for me this sketchcrawl Saturday. On top of that, I am waiting for an important skype call, so didn't like to go far from my computer. Motivation was there yesterday when I met two architects for coffee and sketching, but they didn't bring sketchbooks, so we just chatted, which was very disappointing. Consequently, this morning I wasn't very motivated.

I keep thinking I should sketch around my area, but haven't as it's not inspiring me, so at 9.30 this morning I headed out to rectify this and find something to sketch. I took some photos of the reflections in the puddles and found a shop to sketch, but couldn't find a place to stand. Then I discovered the shoe repair stand, which I had thought might be interesting, was closed. Not a good start. However, just around the corner I saw a Cat demolishing a building from on top of a pile of debris and decided to do that. The noise was incredible and as the dust got too much I took the photo (left), which you can only just see the Cat if you squint into the dust, and headed off. Walking around the construction noise everywhere was incredible, so I gave up and went home to add the colour there.
Balloons at the mall. Pen & watercolour sketch. A5 ©Sue Pownall 2011
Later, taking my sketchbook, I went shopping (so my cupboards are finally full again). Having filled my trolley, I sat down at a café to sketch the colourful helium balloons floating up between the escalators from a stall on the floor below. This time I painted on-site as it was relatively peaceful. I was tempted to buy myself a blue penguin balloon, but resisted.

After being home a few hours, I am still waiting for the phone call, so I don't know if I will sketch anything else today. If you want to see the amazing work of sketchers around the world check out the SketchCrawl and Urban sketchers sites.

EDIT: Illustration Friday prompt for Friday 21st was Dust, which I could not think of anything for. Susan Sorrell Hill pointed out that my Cat sketch was perfect for the theme and asked "Maybe you did that unconsciously???". Perhaps I did.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Rubbish, Pen & watercolour, A5 sketchbook ©Sue Pownall 2011

Those of you who read the last post know I hadn't been to the supermarket when I found a piece of xmas cake to satisfy the munchies. Dinner was another matter and ended up with a walk to the nearest take-away. This evening, standing in the kitchen making a cuppa, I was reminded of the Urban Sketchers theme for last week - Trash cans. I don't have a rubbish bin in my flat and instead reuse plastic bags hanging on the kitchen cupboards; glinting at the top was my takeaway container. Before you get angry, there is not recycling here in Qatar, otherwise I would separate my rubbish.

EDM 169 - Draw a piece of cake

Individual Xmas cake. A5 Sketchbook ©Sue Pownall 2011

I knew I needed to go to the supermarket, but yesterday afternoon found me searching the cupboards for something to eat. Hidden behind some T-bags I found this individual xmas cake, which a friend gave me. So I took it out of its box and drew it whilst sipping my cooling tea. I then ate the icing, but not the marzipan as I don't like almonds, and drew the top picture. Finally, I took a bite and used my watercolours in the last sketch of the page.

Please excuse the quality, I do not have a scanner here and for some reason I cannot get rid of the blue cast on the paper and get the cake colours correct, it's a warmer brown.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

IF - Chicken

Shropshire Hen House. Pen &  ink. 245x165mm. ©Sue Pownall 2011

This week's Illustration Friday prompt was Chicken. I was inspired by the quote that came with the prompt:
"Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." Frank Lloyd Wright.
Instantly, I knew I wanted to draw an old hen house and I found the prefect reference photo on flickr taken by Dick Warren. If you check it out, you will see that I have changed the left wall, which was corrugated iron like the roof, and altered it slightly to make a better composition.

Next Saturday 22nd January is the 30th Worldwide SketchCrawl and will be the 3rd in Doha. Anyone out there who wants to join me, please email me and we can arrange to meet.

Finally, a BIG THANK YOU to all my followers; artofanomad reached 100 this week. My new facebook business page has already reached 43 likes, which is tremendous in the 2 weeks since I set it up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cute eritrean guys

The Final at Khalifa Stadium Pen & ink sketch A5 ©Sue Pownall 2011
Answering my door on Saturday afternoon, I was confronted with a colleague offering me his tennis final ticket for that evening as he couldn't go. With only just enough time to change into a long-sleeved T-shirt and get my fleece, I grabbed a taxi and hot-footed over to the tennis stadium arriving a few minutes after the stands had opened. The ticket was for the upper stands and I got a great seat second row back from the railing. As there was an hour to the start and despite the failing light, it was sunset, I sketched the top of the stand opposite as it filled up. I had to stop when it got too dark. Whilst drawing I planned the Payne's grey wash for the skyline and added it today.

Unfortunately, Nadal had been knocked out in the semis the day before, so the final was Federal V Davydenko. They both played well, although Federer dominated the first set, but in the second set his play went up a notch and he was absolutely awesome to watch, and consequently won.
The winner!
Closing ceremony of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final 2011
On another note. Marian wrote a post recently about traffic sources, blogger here has changed how you view stats, and with my curiosity arose I looked at the keywords used and had to laugh... one poor soul searched for "cute eritrean guys" and ended up with my sketches. Now you know the reason for the post title.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Watching Nadal

Red shirt & red seats. Pen & watercolour sketch A5 ©Sue Pownall 2011

Yesterday, I went to the ATP - Qatar Exxonmobil Open 2011, to see Rafael Nadal play in the quarter finals. I did this sketch in between matches. I don't think the guy in front realised his T-shirt was the same colour as the seats. The sketch took about 15/20 minutes, but then I added colour at home.

Nadal was fantastic, as always. I saw his quarter final against Gulbis, which was closer than it should have been. Then I went to his double match on court 1 - like an outer court at Wimbledon. I sat in the front row, so close you could almost touch him, could really see his awesome playing skills that make him the World's No. 1.

His partner Marc Lopez and his opponents, Gabashvili and Schreiber, all played well, but Nadal OUTSTANDING! 

btw I also saw Federer play earlier in the evening. 

btw2. By 9pm the temperature had dropped to 19c and us softies used to the winter warmth then shivered until 11.15 as the doubles was played the temp dropped a couple more degrees.

Fuzzy pic of a Nadal fan.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Feet, faces & facebook

I'm doing well on the resolutions so far; definitely focused and creative. The facebook business page has been set up ta dah. There is a large black box to the right of this blog where you can link to it or click this

Sketching examinees. Pencil A6 ©Sue Pownall 2011
I've been chatting with Shelley of A Year at the Beach over dedicating a minimum of 15 minutes a day to art. Shelley, quite rightly, said that 15 minutes isn't much. It was something I read (big apology as I forget who wrote it - if it was you please leave a comment and I'll link you) I think the idea behind 15 minutes a day is that it is the minimum you dedicate to your art, whether to blogging your art, doing a sketch, working on a painting...etc. If you are "into" your painting or drawing then you can/will naturally continue, if not you have at least done something. Of course, to get anything finished at some point you will have to draw or paint for longer than 15 minutes. Generally getting started is the difficult part, so I suppose it tricks you into doing more work than procrastinating on the sofa thinking you haven't time to do anything.
Quick sketch of Theeb. Pencil A6 ©Sue Pownall 2011
Anyway, the reason for this waffle is that each of these faces and my feet took 15 mins to do. The guys were students doing a practice exam and I filled in time sketching them. I love the way they all had their gutrah (scarf) arranged differently.
Polka dot PJs & socks. Pen & ink A5 ©Sue Pownall 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Art based resolutions reviewed and revised for 2011

Blue doors, Souq Waqif. Pen & Watercolour A5 ©Sue Pownall 2010
I had a few loose art-based resolutions for 2010 and looking at people's review of goals and non-goals I found it hard to decide whether to write more specific goals or to go for new loose ones. I do need some sort of direction, however all I knew was that my art is to be my priority in the new year. Maybe that's enough?!
Fiat Plant Sketch.Pen & ink A5 ©Sue Pownall 2010
So my 2010's art-based resolutions were:
1. To manage my time better and not spend creative time on the internet.
Khalifa's House Gate, Omdurman.Pen & ink 400x200mm  ©Sue Pownall 2010.
hmm failed on the cutting internet time, in fact it probably increased as the art community I follow increased. Furthermore, it has actually proved to provide inspiration from websites like the Urban Sketchers on flickr with their weekly sketching theme, Virtual Paintout with a monthly place to paint, Illustration Friday another weekly theme, EDM with it's fabulous community and weekly challenges, all found online. Maybe not such a bad thing IF the themes and challenges are taken up? 

15th Street Mosque, Khartoum.Pen & ink  400x200mm ©Sue Pownall 2010.
2. To do what I love, concentrating on my pen & ink work.
I was very successful in doing this, especially as I even had 3 drawings hung in an exhibition.
Monarch Butterfly.Pen & ink  100x100mm ©Sue Pownall 2010
3. To do lots more quick, immediate sketching.
I sketched so much that I have been listed in the Directory as a sketchbook artist.

Sketch: My foot, May.Pen & ink A5 ©Sue Pownall 2010.
Over and above these very loose goals I achieved so much more. I have developed a community of artist friends, both online and face-to-face, which has helped keep me motivated and provided inspiration. Furthermore, I have had the pleasure of meeting up and sketching with several fabulous artists and this is something I wish to do more of in the future. 
To improve my drawing skills, I continued attending life-drawing classes whenever I had the opportunity, and had great fun at the Dr Sketchy's event in London, even though my results weren't so great. I also attended the Ken Kempley watercolour workshop, which was great fun and I hope to repeat it in the summer.  

My passion for my art has been reignited since I started this blog in Sept 09, but mainly throughout 2010, so much so that I do not leave the house without a sketchbook and pen, although it is used only a few times a week. I also always carry a camera to snap shots of potential subjects.

Marsh dawn. Watercolour A4 ©Sue Pownall 2010
As I said at the beginning of this post my priority this year is my art. Yesterday, coming across Chris Brogan and his My 3 words for 2011, this is basically 3 words on which you pin your goals, I found it easy to think of my three words: focus, creativity, happiness. So with possibility of changes I think this year's art resolutions are:
1. To focus my life, my thoughts, my dreams on my art and market myself as much as I can. (You may have noticed the change from blogging and commenting using travelingsuep to my full name, which is the first step I have made.) I will be setting up a facebook page this week to get my finished work out there, but I will  continue to blog and post my sketches here as normal. 
I am thinking about printing postcards and/or gift cards - several people have commented on the blue doors at the top of this post. I have already started carrying photos of my work to hand out or show when opportunities arise. 
Finally, I may develop and deliver some workshops as pen & ink is a skill that is not often addressed on courses.
2. As last year, my creative outlet will remain pen & ink as well as regular sketching. I plan for a minimum of 1 finished piece a month (SMART goal as any more would be unrealistic) ready to try to get hung in a gallery or exhibition and to update the facebook page.
3. Happiness will come from following my dreams and continuing to interact with wonderful artistic people. 

Thank you to all of you who follow my work, take the time to comment, and who have encouraged and inspired me throughout 2010.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Illustration Friday: Resolution. Pen & Ink 120x120mm
Yesterday's prompt for Illustration Friday was Resolution; very apt for the New Year. Whilst, I personally do not eat burgers many people today will resolve to give up fast food, eat healthily etc. However, the majority of people break their resolutions swiftly.

My art-based resolutions made last year were all more or less achieved (I failed partially on wasting time on the internet) and have not written this year's yet, although I know I want to prioritise my art above everything else. As this first illustration of the year has been completed before breakfast (looking at burgers 1st thing even though it was a photo - ugh ) I think I'm off to a good start.

Happy 2011, may it bring you peace & happiness.
 Finally, to quote urban sketcher Paul Wang 
"Laugh lots and sketch more"