Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival 2012 II

Brothers, pen in A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012

Yesterday afternoon I returned to the festival site in Qurum park, sketchbook in hand. My focus was on the other activities in the Heritage Village starting with a man demonstrating the old way of threshing using a palm frond. As a warm-up sketch it's captured the movement, but I think he's a little short in the drawing.
Thresher, A5 sketchbook ©Sue Pownall 2012
My second drawing was a portrait of a wood carver. He was making items for yokes and harness to be used with oxen or mules. I loved his face and scraggly beard and am very pleased with the result. I took several photos of him too, which will be on flickr later.
Wood carver, Pen & ink, A5 sketchbook ©Sue Pownall 2012
My final sketch of the evening was done whilst sitting with the Omani women waiting for a parade of performers. In front of me sat the two brothers in my top sketch. They caught my attention as they were in thick winter coats and wooly hats. I know it is winter here in Oman, however the evening temperature was about 18c, which hardly warrants such clothes. I had a child sat next to me who was fascinated with my every move, whether drawing, checking my phone, or taking photos.
Waiting ©Sue Pownall 2012

Something that amused me throughout the evening was the swarms of photographers, mainly from the Omani Photographic Club who are a very talented group. I am still trying to decide on the correct collective noun, however as there was often one subject surrounded by 20 photographers, a swarm seems appropriate. This is not a great photo but you can get the idea.

A swarm of photographers.
NB: All sketches are completed 100% at the Muscat Festival and are drawn from life.
Just finished the sketch.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival 2012

Drummers, pen in A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
Muscat Festival, a month long annual event, started this weekend. These sketches were done on the Qurum Park site, at the festival's Heritage Village. This is my favourite area at the festival as I enjoy the different groups with their traditional dances and music.
Preparing wool, pen in A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
I also really like seeing the traditional method of producing things such as the ladies who were preparing wool prior to spinning.

Painting the women preparing wool.
WIP Drummers.
It's funny as I went to get these images of Omanis, but I ended up with as much interest  as some of the performers. I had guys taking photographs of me painting the performers, with both professional cameras and iphones, as well as crowds of onlookers watching my every brushstroke.

Despite the spotlights, I only stayed a couple of hours as I found it hard to focus and draw in that light. In that time I had 2 pages of people sketches in ink and these 3 watercolours, so I had been productive. I plan to return on Monday and have already chosen a few traditional activities I want to draw.

Edit: 1 Feb slightly better colour scans from a local printer.
Performers waiting to enter the Heritage Village ©Sue Pownall 2012
NB: All sketches are completed 100% at the Muscat Festival and are drawn from life.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year 2012: Year of the Dragon

  YuYang Garden Dragon, 250 x160mm Pen & ink, ©Sue Pownall 2012 

I was born in the year of the dragon, which makes me 12 or 24, so I had to post something to mark the beginning of an auspicious year.

I found an interesting Chinese website, About Sichuan China, which said that
"In Chinese astrology the dragon person born under this Chinese Zodiac sign tends to be a "doer" – they do things and achieve power by getting things done. A dragon can breathe out fire so the person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon can be a hothead. Watch out if you make them angry! However, the dragon has a soft underbelly and so in Chinese astrology the dragon person born in this Chinese Zodiac year has a "soft spot" to them. They may get angry at someone who annoys them but they also show great compassion to people in need. A dragon has a long tongue which is often seen. So in Chinese astrology the dragon person born in this Chinese Zodiac year has a sharp tongue – they will say things that can be quite sarcastic and biting. The person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon can be quite a confronting person but if you can reach their "soft heart" they are worthwhile allies."
hmm sounds a lot like me.

Some trivia about dragons from squidoo.com/2012yearofthedragon

  • Chinese dragons have five toes
  • Korean dragons have four toes
  • Japanese dragons have three toes 

  • Notable dragons:

    My friend Sherry, who is currently in Singapore, and Michelle Fabio, the amazing writer who blogs at Bleeding Expresso. Also, Isabella Rossellini, such a beautiful, talented lady, and the hardworking Reese Witherspoon were born in the year of the dragon.

    Finally forecasts:
    "It can be expected that the 2012 Year of Dragon would be a happy and joyful one especially for the Dragon people. It is also believed that the Dragon Year 2012 would bring for all of us good luck and charm." 2012 year-of-dragon
    "So what does 2012 hold for a person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon? Such people such double their efforts in whatever they do - work, education and other projects. Their natural talent and abilities should stand out with great results. However, watch out for that temper! Keep it in check and do not spoil your good work." About Sichuan China

    OOps forgot to say about the illustration. This is from my favourite garden in the world, YuYang in Shanghai. I went there in 2001 and want to go back with my sketchbook for a whole week. There was a place nearby which made the best steamed wonton too, which was worth at trip in itself.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    34th WW SketchCrawl - Muscat

    Omani lady at Royal Opera House Muscat
    This Muscat sketchcrawl didn't go to plan and so I ended up sketching in the new Royal Opera House as I waited to see/hear the Syrian singer Omar Sarmini. 
    ROH staff
    I arrived early as I had to collect my ticket and so drew 2 of the staff chatting by a doorway.
    Main foyer in ROH
    I then moved into the main foyer where I sketched some of the ladies standing around.
    Indian ladies at ROH Muscat
    Then, when I reached my seat I sketched a couple of Omanis sat in the box below me.
    In a box 
    All sketches were done with a 0.1 pen in my A5 sketchbook.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Kite fliers

    Kite fliers
    I took a long walk on the beach this morning and came across a kite flying event. Families were having picnics and barbeques whilst various family members flew the kites. The children were almost impossible to sketch as they kept moving around with the kites however, one young boy stood still-ish for a while then sat down as the wind kept his kite above without any effort on his part.
    Kite fliers
    Kite Fliers, A5 sketchbook ©Sue Pownall 2011
    Sketching onsite

    I sat on the beach under the shade of a palm, as the photo on the left shows. As everything was so colourful and lots of the women were wearing saris or abayas I sketched directly in watercolours to capture both colours and the movement of cloth.

    Then finally I painted some women preparing food for their family barbeque. It’s almost the same arrangement of women as in my drawing Khartoum Chai Ladies just from the other side.

    Sandra of Sandradraws will confirm that I don’t usually have a problem sketching outdoors. Today was one of the days when it was. I was painting the women when a huge Asian family came along looked at what I was doing, then stood there, towering above me, waiting for me to continue eek. I made a few tentative strokes, then looked around as trying to decide on another subject. They got bored and started to chat, less than a metre away, loudly, whilst every time I went to paint their daughter came back to watch, 2cm from me. I couldn’t take the noise nor the staring, so packed up and went in search of a cup of tea.
    Preparing lunch       Finally, here are a couple of photos, which I think capture the day.

    Kite String ©Sue Pownall 2011

    Crashed ©Sue Pownall 2011

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Resolution review and revision 2012

    Reviewing 2011

    Last year my art was pinned on three words: focus, creativity, happiness, with 3 resolutions.
    The 1st was: To focus my life, my thoughts, my dreams on my art and market myself as much as I can

    One of the first steps within this was to set up a facebook page "to get my finished work out there", which I did and I now have 217 who follow my page, suepownallartist. Also, I set up a twitter account @suepownall to tweet about my art with, as I write, 200 followers. The biggest two marketing things were to establish a website suepownallartist.co.uk , which went live in October, and a quarterly newsletter, which has 37 subscribers. Of course, I continued to blog and post my sketches here as normal. 

    Surprising marketing successes came from a 3 page newspaper article on me and my sketching and, for me even better, a magazine article on my art with my name on the front cover.

    Within this 1st resolution I also wrote "I am thinking about printing postcards and/or gift cards". I went a step further as well as printing gift cards of 2 of my pieces of work, I also had limited edition Giclée prints of 6 drawings made. I have sold several to date, which I'm very pleased with.

    I also wrote that "I may develop and deliver some workshops", but due to a lot of changes I have not done that.

    The 2nd was: to continue working in pen and ink with regular sketching, which I did. I planned a "minimum of 1 finished piece a month ready to try to get hung in a gallery or exhibition and to update the facebook page." Life was a bit crazy in 2011, nothing new there, so the monthly goal was not achieved per se, however I finished 9 pieces over the year, selling 3 and donating 2 others to charity. Plus I got a commission for 3 illustrations from Qatar Museum Authority, so I completed 12 pieces, they were just not done monthly. 
    Trees For Life Charity Exhibtion. Photo by John Need
    Surprisingly, without a body of work I had work hung in the Trans-Siberian Train exhibition, Trees for Life Charity Exhibition, and had 2 drawings juried into the CAS Winter Exhibtion. Also held in Doha was an Art event: private view of my original drawings and prints.

    The 3rd was: Happiness will come from following my dreams and continuing to interact with wonderful artistic people, which it did.

    Resolutions for 2012
    As last year, here are my three words to guide my life throughout the year:

    Yes, I kept focus as it's important to keep my focus on my art, in this year, which already is a bit crazy. Vision is my 2nd word as I need to keep myself open to opportunities, as I did in 2011. Finally, produce is the 3rd as without actually producing finished artwork, I cannot achieve anything.
    1. To produce a minimum of one finished piece per month.
    2. To exhibit at least twice in the year.
    3. Continue marketing myself.

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