Sunday, November 27, 2011

Long weekends are about art!

©Sue Pownall 2011       Despite having a lot of things to do this weekend, including still settling in, I’ve found lots of time for art.

Thursday, after a day of manic cleaning which included windows and curtains, I walked over to the wadi (Arabic for river bed or valley) where I collected the skull last week, for an hour or so of sketching. I had spotted a ruin, which of course I had to draw. It’s not one of my best, as I hadn’t sketched in a few weeks, but makes a start on my sketchbook – on page 3 as I can’t draw on page 1.© Sue Pownall         Walking back to the flat, I spotted …

warning don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you are squeamish and don’t look at last pic of this post

…a decomposing cow. Ignoring the fact of what it was, it was really interesting especially the way the hide had ended up like folded soft suede. I sketched it on site in ink, swotting the ever present flies, and then with the dimming light of dusk went home and added the colour.

© Sue Pownall
On Friday, I had my first visitor from Muscat, the amazing photographer Ahmed Al-Shukaili. He is in the process of setting up a new website, but in the meantime you can see his awesome portraits and fabulous landscapes here and here. First, he took me to a semi-abandoned village, where I spotted places to draw on another trip. Then we drove an hour out of Ibra to Wadi Sep, which has the most amazing rock formations. As we were there an hour before sunset, the colours were amazing. I was very intimidated to be taking photos alongside such a great photographer, but am happy with the two I have posted here (top & right). It was a beautiful relaxing place and whilst Ahmed worked on getting the perfect shots I took out my A6 sketchbook. I didn’t realise photographers are harder to draw than children as they move more.
© Sue Pownall         © Sue Pownall
Early on Saturday, I had arranged to go sketching with 2 colleagues, so I took them back to the semi-abandoned village. It was a beautiful morning and the temperature was perfect when we arrived just after 7.30. Unfortunately, most the time was spent walking around taking photos (mine are on flickr), although I did a quick sketch when there was a cigarette break (I don’t smoke). Next stop was the fish market to buy our dinner. It is a long process as your chosen fish is cleaned and chopped, so I left the others to shop whilst I did two quick sketches.
© Sue Pownall © Sue Pownall © Sue Pownall
There are still 2 days left of the holiday and I plan to work on the Scottish ruin, which I started before I left the UK.

Beware, below is the sketch you may not like…

© Sue Pownall

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On the trail of a nomad.

© Sue Pownall 2011

For those of you kind enough to ask where I am and what I am doing here's a quick update, although these first photos may give a clue...
1st sunset © Sue Pownall 2011
In September I expected to return and stay in Qatar, however as I wrote in October's post WoOZ life sometimes has different ideas for us. A few people thought I was being mysterious about my plans: I wish I had been. The reality was that being left in the lurch without a job, which I must have to pay the mortgage and normal day-to-day expenses, I honestly didn't know what I was going to do or where I was going to do it, other than temporarily return to the UK.

A few days after the Edinburgh trip, I flew out of Heathrow to return to Oman, which I had left end of 2009, returning to work for my first Omani company. This time I am not in the capital, but in the interior in a town called Ibra, working for the A'Sharqiyah University.  I had my first real exploration around today, visiting the souq and one of the older parts of this town - it's actually like a series of villages. 
Watermelon seller © Sue Pownall 2011

So far I have not done any drawing, but picked up a goat's skull today, which I may draw tomorrow. I have damaged it slightly as it was quite fresh, so I used several kettlefuls of boiling water to clean it, then realised some of the very soft nasal bone has fallen away. Still it's better than any left over goat or germs hanging around I think. It is now sitting on the windowsill scaring the neighbours.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mini adventure to Scotland

Solitude © Sue Pownall 2011
Taking advantage of being in UK for a little longer than anticipated, I took the opportunity to go to the opening of the brilliantly organised Trees For Life Charity Exhibition at Out of the Blue, Edinburgh. Details of the charity event can be read in my post Trees for life charity fundraiser. I would like to say again a big thank you to Trevor Jones, whose concept and hardwork brought it to fruition.

Newcastle Hotel, Rothbury A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2011

I chose to drive up as I was dogsitting, whilst my parents went on holiday, which meant I got to spend some time in beautiful woods, parks & on beaches as I exercised him. I drove up to Northumberland the first day and stopped about an hour from the border. That evening, we both visited the dog-friendly bar of the Newcastle Hotel where I sketched a few of the locals. The next morning, after a foggy walk on the moors along St Oswald's Way, we crossed into Scotland at Coldstream. We stopped for tea at Hirsel where I outlined the building opposite us, then added watercolour later.
Hirsel. A5 Sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2011
Next, after a drive around Edinburgh, we visited the beach at Portobello, before heading to our hotel. I've mentioned before that Nelson always loves the sea and barks at the waves as they crash on the sand and I took the opportunity of a near empty beach to photograph him. More photos from the trip are on flickr.

© Sue Pownall 2011
That evening, I drove to the gallery for the opening of the exhibition, meeting the harried Trevor Jones briefly, before admiring all the donated work. I was delighted to see that Jeanette Jobson was hung on the adjacent board, as it was her contribution The Gate Keeper, which you can see here, that got me involved. You can still snap up some original pieces of art at the bargain price of £45 each, including  The President's Tree, either at the exhibition, which is open until the 13th November, or on the website here. Below are a few photos from the night.
Opening speech by Trevor Jones
Gentlemen looking at mine & Jeanette's work.
My drawing, The President's Tree, & I
Don't forget to visit the charity's website to see how they aim to restore the Caledonian Forest. Finally a quote from Trevor written last Saturday:

"£5135 and counting  ... We've raised so much money already so thanks again to all of you."
Let's get the remaining pictures sold  and push that total higher!