Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival XI


Muscat Festival was extended a week, now closing this weekend, but there were not any more performances in the Heritage Village by the various villages. I am sad as I miss seeing my new photographer friends and all the lovely people working at the festival.

Tuesday night (21st) was the area of Wadi Bani Khalid and it was sooo colourful and I think everyone from there was in the Heritage Village as there were so many performers. After a couple of walk rounds, mouth open at the colours, but lacking suitable places to lean or sit, I stopped at a wall to sketch some ladies in beautiful outfits preparing a table of food. Unfortunately, I was distracted, see below, and the women moved to much so I abandonded the sketch.
1st drawing of the day
The distraction: whilst drawing I looked up and found myself surrounded by these lovely cute girls. I grabbed a passer-by to take the photo of us.
Sketching with girls from Wadi Bani Khalid.

I then drew a woman sitting very still, the perfect subject, BUT people came and sat blocking her from view, prior to her wandering off. I took photos as she needs to have colour added... she was wearing bright reds and greens as my top sketch, with gold around her ankles, purple strips, black... maybe I will complete it and post here.
This cries out for colour

Two more Where's Wally shots (Don't know what I'm talking about? then check out Festival X post) from my new friend and great photographer Ahmed Al-Harthy. You can see one of the ladies with an orange cloth on her head on the left. Yes, the man next to me is drawing. He drew a deer from his imagination.
20th February By Ahmed Al-Harthy
This one is by Waleed Mohammed taken on Tuesday. I have a very serious expression in this one, but it could be because I haven't got my glasses on.
Photo by Waleed Mohammed
The next day was my last sketching the festival, and I was more motivated to take photos than sketch. I did this watercolour early on, but they wandered off. 
Then, stood in the dark in the Qurum Park site I sketched these dancers without actually being able to see either pen nor paper. 
Totals for my Muscat Festival 2012
48      A5 sketchbook pages with drawings on (not often completed)
1        A4 sketchbook page with a pen & watercolour sketch
708   photographs, after deletingthe really bad ones.

Whilst on numbers this is my 300th post. I wonder what the next 100 will bring?

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The spring newsletter will be out soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Festival faces

His brother's musar,  230 x 330mm, Pen & ink. ©Sue Pownall 2012

Inspired by Muscat Festival I have started a series of drawings I am calling Festival Faces.
The first one is of a man from Jalaan, called His brother's musar.

I started posting the WIP stages on my Facebook page after tweeting "Over-confidence meets reality?! New drawing stuck on wall while I get past the omg #canIreallydrawthis panic" on February 10th. The next day I posted the first stage to show I'd moved on and explained the panic had been because the man has partial cataracts and wasn't working in the drawing. As you can see I drew fairly normal old eyes, but as I am an artist, and this is my interpretation of the subject that's my choice.
Sorry about the picture quality, it was snapped on my phone at night, not a good combination. 
WIP #1 10th February
I have been inspired by this picture and so have put in lots of hours in order to complete it so fast. As the drawing is on A3 and my new scanner is only A4 these WIP are all photos taken with my phone.
WIP #2
WIP #3 13th February
WIP Thursday am 16th Feb
WIP Thursday later 16th Feb
WIP 17th Feb
Later 17th
Photo reference supplied and used with the permission of Ahmed Al-Shukaili.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where's Wally? Sketching Muscat Festival X

The guys from Al Musna clapping etc
I feel a bit like the American Where's Wally as my new photographer friends keep taking my photo as I sketch at the Festival. It's nice as some of them are being shared with me on my facebook page. I posted the Where's Wally (Sue)? pic by Nasser on the last post and I thought I'd add more to this post.
Photo by Waleed Mohammed
I love the one above taken by Waleed, which was taken on Sunday. I don't normally paint standing up, but had sketched the guys from Al Musna and was enjoyng their clapping, singing and drumming, so much that I wanted to add colour to capture the feeling. They seemed to enjoy my attention too as between every song they gathered around to see what I had done and tried to guess who was who in the drawings.
New friends from Al Musna: Amjad, Yosef, Ahmed, & Mohammed
 I'm particullary pleased with the sketch below. Do you remember that awful 80s song where you sat in a line on the floor and did a strange rowing action??? This was like that without the dreadful music, but with drums and chants.
My 3rd sketch of the Al Musna troup was of Yosef the drummer, but he moved so much as he drummed vigourously it's not a good likeness, and I was sketching directly in watercolour.
 Below is the first Where's Wally photo taken, that I know of, whilst I was sketching the picture in festival post VIII on the 15th.
By Abdulaziz Al Jahdhami
The rhythms and people as well as the perfect light really spoke to my soul as I drew on Sunday and so my other 2 pictures were in colour too. There were groups of beautiful ladies sat so I went over to capture them. I sarted the details of the lady in red, then they left. oh well.

In the last sketch I was trying to capture the ladies as they stood chatting, waiting to perform. The one in the middle has an orange cloth folded on her head, I don't know why, custom?
Where's Wally? Painting Beduin
I had a less successful sketching session yesterday, I think because I was preoccupied having unsuccessfully scanned my latest drawing and now have the search for somewhere else to scan finished pieces. I painted the ladies above soon after I arrived. I had previously tried to sketch them, but had been thwarted by the crowds. Luckily last night was quieter. I'm not keen on the angle of the Where's Wally shot, but it shows the the ladies in the background well. I love the old men, seen below, in their dark dishdashas and musars. The old guns seemed very heavy, and I tried to sketch them casually slung over the men's shoulders. Unfortunately, the men were moving a lot, and I wasn't as loose as on Sunday.
Where's Wally? Sketching on 20th by Aziz

Sorry about the length of this post. Only 2 more nights until the festival is over for another year.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival IX

Wednesday, feeling a little lazy after a long week working on a portrait, and as the performers arrived late, I just sketched people whilst watching and enjoying the evening. Stood by the tea stand, I sketched the men performing and standing around (below). Then I went and sketched the ladies with their wool and weaving (above).
Sketching the drawing above. Photo by Nasser Al-Jabri
Very embarrassing, one photographer Nasser, asked if he could take my photo as I drew the ladies. Then the swarm descended and I think there were about 6 photographers taking my pic. This one by Nasser is the only one I've seen, so i'm curious about the others.

Friday, I went to meet Omani artist Yousuf Ali Al-Nahwi. I didn't want to draw as I had spent the whole weekend working on the portrait and the detailed work had made my head and eyes ache. We had a fun afternoon and evening taking lots and lots of reference photos, discussing painting, ideas etc. We watched the show at 6.30 near the tv presenters (see last post) and photo below.
The presenters
Then after getting something to eat we discovered a show by Chinese acrobats, which was fantastic. Here are a few of my photos:
Qurayatt boy © Sue Pownall 2012
Casual © Sue Pownall 2012
Happy © Sue Pownall 2012
Qurayatt drummers © Sue Pownall 2012
Here I am © Sue Pownall 2012
 Twirl © Sue Pownall 2012
There are more photos in my Oman set on flickr.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival VIII

 Traditional game near central stage in Heritage Village A4 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 
Having decided I wanted to capture some complete scenes from the Festival, I took my A4  sketchbook with me last night. I really like sketching this size now, but I have found it's not convenient for grabbing quick sketches of people. On arrival I headed straight to the men's seating area and inked then painted the central area, leaving the rest of the paper blank. Under the blue tarpaulin are the seats where the tv presenters sit when the area goes live at 6.30 every night. The Festival was strangely quiet, maybe due to it being St Valentine's day, partially as there were less participants from the night's region. Whilst I sat there several people took my photo, again, and at one point two Iranian artist sat either side of me so their friend could take a picture of the 3 of us. By that stage I had inked in some boys playing a traditional game and the troupe of gentlemen, who came past singing and drumming, but I had lost concentration through trying to talk to the Iranians and smiling for their photos, so went to get my usual cup of tea. Therefore, I broke my own rule and added the colour to the figures when I got home making this only 90% completed on site.

I'd like to thank everyone who has been commenting on this series of sketches. I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by. The festival still has a week to run, so there are lots of sketching opportunities to come and so lots more posts.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I am enjoying the sketching.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival VII

Young girls, watercolour in A5

I went to the Festival on Friday and as the previous week it was really really busy. I managed a few pen sketches, but it was difficult. The ladies permanently had people stopping to look at their work and buy key rings and other small items. I was more successful when I sat on the male side of the village, where I sketched some of the men sitting around me. However, I have to confess I chose to move as more and more men sat around me in order to secure their places for the televised event.

Today, I returned and did a warm up sketch of a man on his camel, which of course walked off. I then started drawing 3 boys reading their Korans, but a huge photographer sat down in front of them and didn't move... so I did and abandonded the page. A little while later I returned to a similar spot and started the watercolour sketch, but again had to abandon due to my view being blocked both by photographers and visitors. I took a photo, so may do another version of it when I get some acrylics. Lets see if I have better luck on Tuesday.

With about 10 days left of the Festival, I need to find a new sketchbook, as I've used 28 pages so far and only have a few pages left. I like my Daler Ebony, but I don't hold out much hope of finding one here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival VI

Waiting to dance Watercolour, A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
My last couple of visits to the festival have been all about colour. Three of five pages are watercolours plus I spent most of Tuesday using my camera to capture the colours of the beautiful clothes. The top sketch was painted on my arrival on Wednesday, whereas the one below was done the day before.
In the Beduin tent, pen & watercolour in A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
The In the beduin tent sketch is actually a slightly warmer colour, and I apologise for not spending hours correcting it, but I got cold last night and don't feel 100%. Below is one of my favourite costume shots to date.
Sewing © Sue Pownall 2012
I had to paint the chai (tea) sellers as this is another of my regular stops at the Festival. It is inside the Heritage Village and I normally buy a cup of chai around 5pm. They don't make it too sweet and I like the herbs it is made with.  I'd perched near the owner Mr Adnan whilst drawing and was highly embarrassed when he showed his staff the sketch on completion. I think I will be charged double for my tea tomorrow.
Chai, pen & watercolour in A5 sketchbook © Sue Pownall 2012
After I had finished this last sketch I sat in the women's area to watch the main event. The picture below shows the rearview of the women I had painted almost 3 hours earlier (top sketch) with drummers stood facing them. I took a video too which I will upload and share another day.
Earlier, I had taken this photo of some young men in the early evening sunshine enjoying some drumming. This is just one of several photos I have posted in my flickr photostream if you are interested in seeing more.
A face in the crowd © Sue Pownall 2012
From the Heritage Village I watched the musical fountains again, then I got something to eat and watched a British Council sponsored dance/acrobatic troup perform, but as I was cold in just a thin jumper and scarf I thought I would leave...  BUT I discovered there was some flamenco dance and singing on a stage, so stopped and watched that. I have discovered that I think about drawing dancers whenever I watch them, but can't as I don't want to take my eyes off them. I then went home with the car heater on full blast trying to warm up. I apologise to everyone in Europe for complaining when the nighttime temperatures are around 12-15c but I don't have a coat and it is cold for here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sketching Muscat Festival V

Serving food to the masses A5 sketchbook ©Sue Pownall 2012
I went to the Festival on Friday for an hour, but like long-weekends anywhere in the world, everyone and his granny was there. I completed the above sketch in an area next to the Heritage Village. This is where I normally grab a pancake-type Omani snack food smothered in date syrup (like strong honey). In the huge saucepans the ladies have traditional Omani dishes like harees which get served in small plastic containers and eaten with spoons, unlike the pancake thing which dribbles syrup all over the place, namely fingers and clothes. I sat on a wall at the end of the  cooking area and did a pied-piper of Hamlin, gathering a huge group of children around me. One girl did a good job of keeping my view clear, however I had to ask another one a couple of times not to lean on my arm - you can spot the wonky lines as it, naturally, was my drawing side.
The women where I buy my pancakes & date syrup.
In case you are wondering, I can afford to pop in and out of the Festival, not because I have a pass or masses of money, but because it costs only 0.200 bz per adult. As 1 Omani Rial is £1.64 or $2.59 that's a massive 32p, 39€ or 51c! How's that for good value?!

Today, was my first non-sketching visit. I arrived from work after 5pm and realised the temperature had dropped and there was a chilly wind. I had taken my scarf out of the car on the weekend and so was only in shirtsleeves. It was also grey and overcast making it seem kinda gloomy. I walked around and found a group of musicians to sketch but... my worse nightmare... I couldn't find my pen. I turned my bag inside out and back again, by which time the musicians had wandered off and was left clutching a biro, which along with a yellow highlighter (no idea how that got there) were the only pens in my bag. Thoroughly chilled and upset at the loss, I went for a pancake to eat on my way back to the car. There I found my pen tucked down the back of the passenger seat along with my eye drops and lipsalve. phew As there's no sketch for today, here's a photo of group of musicians and dancers, complete with bagpipe player, in the Heritage Village.
My next planned visit is on Tuesday, which is the first day of the Oman Food Festival, which is in the area where the Embassies Bazaar was held.