Monday, December 31, 2012

A review & resolutions.

My illustrations published for the novel True Vines

  Review of 2012

For 2012, I had 3 words to guide me: Focus, Vision, Produce. From those words I had 3 resolutions of which some were more successful than others.

1. To produce a minimum of one finished piece per month.
Yes. Looking in the folder on FB there are 15 drawings for 2012. I have also produced 6 published illustrations and two commissioned portraits. Yea me - my most productive year to date. Whilst I still prefer to draw buildings and landscapes I have enjoyed working on my portrait series: Festival Faces, of which the first one sold and is now hung in its Australian home.

2. To exhibit at least twice in the year.
hmmm... This didn't exactly work out as I thought as I didn't have any work in exhibitions. However, I did end up with work hung in 2 galleries.
Through the OSFA, I submitted a piece to an exhibition in September, however the exhibition has been delayed and so will be hung sometime in the new year.
3. Continue marketing myself.
Yes. Throughout the year I continued to blog, both on my site and blogger, tweet and keep my facebook page up to date. I distributed over 100 business cards throughout the year and I had a stall at a winter fair in order to get publicity here in Oman. Also, I was interviewed on the local radio and had newspaper articles on the of the sketching events I arranged.

 Surprises from 2012.
A lovely surprise was following an email from the author Diana Baur, I produced both the cover illustration and section illustrations for her novel True Vines.

Something else I didn't anticipate was to start illustrating for the online short story site The Story Shack. To date I have had 3 illustrations published with more due in 2013.

With some of the artists of the Ghalya's Museum's Wall Painting project
Finally, a lovely surprise was getting to participate in a 100 artist wall art collaboration, which tested my little used painting skills, and led me to work alongside both Omani and international artists.

Resolutions for 2013

2013 will see my art taking second place throughout the year. Following my month in Barcelona, my love for that city was renewed and my long-term goal is to move there. However, I'm not sure if financially I can do it within 2013. Like many artists I have to work to pay the bills and I also have a flat in Italy which as a partial renovation project needs work and money, so I have just secured a new job here in Oman with a better package. With the higher salary comes longer working hours, a necessary trade in order to reach my goal. The flat is for sale, if anyone is interested in a holiday home in the beautiful Pollino National Park, Calabria. Therefore, throughout 2013 my resolution and goal will be on getting my finances in order, so I can move to Barcelona as soon as possible.
Of course, my sketchbook will remain with me throughout 2013, I already have 2 commissions for drawings and further illustrations to do for The Story Shack. Also, I plan to go to the Urban Sketchers' 4th Symposium in July and... well who knows what other arty things will happen, but obviously my art passion will not be totally neglected. 

On a personal level, I resolve to eliminate but from my vocabulary and only focus on positive aspects. I also need to make sure I exercise throughout the year.


May you fill lots of sketchbooks, produce lots of art, and have many laughs, health & happiness in the forthcoming year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tennis time.

Relaxing on beanbags prior to the 5pm start
On Thursday I was in Abu Dhabi, UAE, for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. My mum got me the ticket as a birthday present. Nadal was scheduled to play, but pulled out the day before due to illness on top of his on-going knee injury, which was a little disappointing. However the tennis I saw was good.

Queueing for Djokovic's autograph
I arrived at the ground early and armed with my sketchbook drew the people around me. The first sketch was from the bar of people watching the kids activities out on a field. Followed by the massive queue of people waiting for Novak Djokovic's autograph. Finally, I drew people chillin out on beanbags from my own beanbag.
In the bar watching the kids events

My A5 sketchbook
Inside the stadium I watched Andy Murray lose his match against Janko Tipsarevic, then an exciting match between David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, which Ferrer won. Surprisingly, play got delayed due to rain, although unlike Wimbledon it was all over in a few moments, the lines were dried and play restarted.
The raincloud.
Ferrer V Berdych at Tennis Complex, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi
Please forgive the quality of the scans, I am busy working on my end of year post and do not have time to fiddle with colour correction etc.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mayan Prophecy

Capturing shadows A4 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
In case the Mayan prophercy was true, I arranged SketchMuscat 4 for yesterday morning. What better way to spend the last day on earth than sketching if you can't be with your family? A small group of us sketched at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat. The weather is perfect now to sketch outside and we all enjoyed wandering around the beautiful complex.
Changing bulbs in the mesjid. A4 sketchbook

I'd planned to draw the gardens and complex buildings to enjoy the weather to its fullest. However, my first potential subject seemed tooooo huge for a first sketch, so I headed into the main mesjid (mosque). Inside men where on a huge crane changing lightbulbs and I knew I had to record this unusual event. Then I went back outside and did my second sketch of the morning, which was the watercolour of the shadows. I hadn't planned a tonal work, but that's what  happened.
I wouldn't like their job!

My latest newletter just went out.
You can read it here - and maybe you would like to subscribe for the next edition?

Thursday, December 13, 2012


12.12.12 Qantab, A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
 On 12.12.12 at 12:12 I was sat on a beach sketching. It's not quiet an urban sketch as I was in the small fishing village of Qantab, which is a short drive south-east of Muscat. The finished sketch is above, whilst below is the snap I took at 12.12.12 12:12 
By sketching on 12.12.12 I hope the auspicious date will bring my art luck in the forthcoming year.

12.12.12 12:12 (GMT+4)
I was very inspired by the village and there are lots of things I want to draw. As I have friends living there, I'm sure you'll see lots more sketches and drawings from this lovely village.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

True Vines

True Vines with illustrations by Sue Pownall.
Today, I received my copy of True Vines by Diana Strinati Baur and published by Gemelli Press. I love how my illustrations have been used. I originally posted the cover illustration for this novel on my blog here back in October, just before publication.

This novel by Diana is beautifully written and hard to put down. I recommend you get a copy now.

True Vines is available in soft copy, kindle & nook from Amazon (uk, com, de...) and direct from

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Asifa Ramliyya - Festival Face #6

Asifa Ramliyya. Pen & ink. 32x26 cm. © Sue Pownall 2012
This is the sixth portrait of my Festival Face series, which was finished yesterday.
The title is an Arabic transliteration for sandstorm عاصفة رملية

What do you think?
Please leave me a comment. Thank you.

Photograph used with permission of the photographer: Aziz (AbdulAziz) Al Jahdhami.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sketches - a catchup

I have a commission to draw a house; these were in the garden.
As an artist I’ve never been so busy as this year and specifically over these last few months. This has ranged from producing illustrations for the short story site The Story Shack to the artists’ collaborative wall painting project. I have continued sketching throughout this time, but due to these other projects I haven’t posted any sketches, so today is a long catch up.
A prep sketch prior to a commission. November

A night sketch whilst waiting for a friend. October.
The last sketches shown on my blog were from the pink party. For that I bought Intense pencils and since then I have been experimenting using them with the water brush I bought in Barcelona. I think I prefer my watercolours and last weekend reverted to using them, but the pencils will be useful when wet medium is not easily used or for touches of colour as I did at the pink party.
A beach day with mum. October 2012
On a tour of Oman Flour Mills 10 Nov.
On a tour of Oman Flour Mills 10 Nov.
 I’ve also finished my A6 handbag sketchbook. It’s been lurking in the bottom of my bag for nearly 2 years. I prefer larger sketchbooks, but carry it for those in-between times, waiting for friends, sitting on buses, in waiting rooms etc.
Al Raffah Hospital September
Muscat Private Hospital, Radiology dept. Sept.

Waiting for mum at MCT international airport arrivals. Oct.
I love receiving comments so please feel free to tell me what you think.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wall painting project - Unveiled

The finished wall painting. Photo courtesy of Ghalya's Museum of Modern Art.
As I mentioned in my post Wall Painting Collaboration, I was part of a large wall painting project initiated by Ghalya's Museum of Modern Art. The unveiling was on Tuesday and was cleverly done through having lights dimmed and smoke pumped in front of the wall, which then cleared to show the painting. 
Museum director Murtadha Al Lawati unveiling the wall.
Nearly a 100 artists, both Omani and internationals, took part to complete the 100 sections. As an artist living in Oman, it was a great honour to be asked to participate. The collaboration and friendship between artists working on the project was fantastic. To be able to add my small part to the project, working alongside great Omani artists, is something I will always remember.
Some of the particpating artists. Photo courtesy of Reehan Hoosein.
The overall theme of the project was to celebrate Oman's 42nd National Day. My section represents the role of Omani women in the successful reign of HM Sultan Qaboos. Women have been a fundamental part in Oman's renaissance and I have tried to symbolically show that with my painting of veils.

 Don't forget you can see a slideshow of the day I painted here. If you are in Oman in the next 3 months, you can see the actual painting on Ghalya's museum wall.

Look out for more news and events on my facebook page:

Friday, November 16, 2012

A published illustration

Yesterday, an illustration I drew on The Story Shack appeared online for the short story Pottering About in Thailand.

To see the illustration onsite and read the story please click this link:
The Story Shack.

  If you like my drawing and/or the story, the writer and I would appreciate your vote on the page.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

IF: Tree

The President's Tree, pen & ink, 160 x 230mm © Sue Pownall 2011
This week's topic for Illustration Friday is tree and I thought I would share this old drawing from 2011. Limited edition giclée prints are available through my website shop and would make a great Christmas gift. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wall painting collaboration

Participating in Ghalya's wall painting event. 9th November
 Through an Omani contact, I got invited to participate in Ghalya's Museum of Modern Art's wall painting project. Over 80 artists, both Omani and International are involved in painting a mural on the theme: the successful 42 year reign of HM Sultan Qaboos.

Yesterday morning saw me painting my segment, which represents the importance of Omani women's roles throughout the time.  I have a slideshow of photos from the morning here on my site, please check it out. It is just a single morning's snapshot of the project, which is due to be finished in time for its unveiling on 20th November, taken as I added my contribution.

Monday, October 22, 2012

On the cover

Earlier in the year I was approached by Diana Strinati Baur to illustrate the book cover of her forthcoming novel True Vines. This was the secret project I mentioned on my facebook page back in March. It is due to be published in paperback and eformats on the 1st November by Gemelli Press.

Here is my original illustration and how it was used for the cover.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On the walls.

 A selection of my drawings are on display and for sale now at 

Bait Muzna Gallery, Muscat, Oman.

If you are in the country, please visit the gallery. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Detail. © Sue Pownall 2012
Anyone who has followed my work for a while knows I don't like doing portraits. By portraits I mean the family portrait in pencil or watercolour. They are easy enough, but I find them a trial and unenjoyable. However, periodically I get a commission that I can't refuse. Before the summer I was commissioned to draw a man's wife for her birthday. I completed the drawing last month, but as her birthday is in October I waited to post it. Not only is this a pencil portrait, but it was drawn far larger than I would normally do, 50x70cm, eeek. 

© Sue Pownall 2012
Close up of finished drawing © Sue Pownall 2012
© Sue Pownall 2012
Please don't ask me to do one for you, but you can commission me to draw landscapes and buildings.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pink ladies

WGO Pink Party A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
On Tuesday the Women's Guild Oman held a Pink Party, a breast cancer awareness coffee morning, with profits going to both the cancer charities MacMillian, which I believe is a UK based charity, and a donation to NACA here in Oman. Not being someone who likes pink, I bought a pink scarf to wear & joined the other ladies dressed in pink for the occassion.
My scarf and invite.
No cameras are allowed in the British Ambassador's residence, which wasn't a problem for me as I sketched the ladies with my new Inktense pink pencil and new waterbrush. For some reason, as I was using a coloured pencil for the pink, I also drew in pencil when I was there. This is doubly strange as I started the first page in ink through drawing my scarf before leaving home.
Scenes from the morning A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
 My favourite part of the morning was a poetry reading by Penny Destro from her book Frothy Coffee. Her poems are written for women and are very funny. After the reading I bought a copy as she donates 100% of the profits to NACA.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sketch Muscat 3

SketchMuscat 3 at Costa's Shatti   A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
I'm slowly generating interest in sketching here in Muscat and I arranged another event for yesterday. It was the most successful so far with over 30 people attending, and more turning up after we had stopped due to poor light (it was actually too dark too see).

People of all ages joined in; Mr Shakil brought his whole family along and everyone from mother-in-law down to his youngest child drew. I was especially pleased that quite a few Omanis joined us as, like sport, I think art can join communities. The enthusiasm of the children was the best part as they ran around showing what they had drawn.
Grandmother & grandchildren on SketchMuscat 3
I arrived nearly an hour early as I anticipated lack of sketching time for me due to over 70 people saying they would attend via the facebook event page. I grabbed a couple of tables under the shade and drew my snack. I finally tested the waterbrush that my Barcelona friends had said to buy along with Intense pencils (bought this week as I need a pink pencil for a breast-cancer awareness charity event) and later shared these new toys with others. I did sketch a few people on the beach after people started arriving, but spent most of the 2.5 hours talking to the participants.
Grandmother proudly showing off her sketch.
An amazing young talent. Photo by Kavitha.
I think everyone had fun and I was especially pleased to keep getting asked "When is the next one?". About a month's time is the answer.

Beach scenes A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

There was a crooked man (IF crooked)

Crooked Stile: A study. 18x18cm ©Sue Pownall 2012
The theme for Illustration Friday was Crooked. Luckily for me although here in Muscat it is Friday, and a new theme is due, it's still Thursday in USA and I can post this last minute submission. I was thinking of using Cathy's idea of a crooked tree (see her lovely entry here) when I remembered this poem and I produced this drawing. The stile is actually an element in a idea for a drawing I've been toying with for a couple of years, so maybe now I will start on it.

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

“The origin of the nursery rhyme "There was a crooked man" is in British history. The origin of this poem originates from the English Stuart history of King Charles 1. The crooked man is reputed to be the Scottish General Sir Alexander Leslie. The General signed a covenant securing religious and political freedom for Scotland. The 'crooked stile' referred to… being the border between England and Scotland. 'They all lived together in a little crooked house' refers to the fact that the English and Scots had at last come to an agreement. The words reflect the times when there was great animosity between the English and the Scots.” (Source: