Thursday, June 21, 2012

Waiting for the tide

Waiting for the Tide. Pen & ink. 360 x 220mm © Sue Pownall 2012
 Another Omani scene which has just been delivered to the gallery. 
I believe it will be hung after Ramadan/the summer.
I used Instagram for this WIP.
With my previous boat drawing Preparing to Fish, John of JWJArts asked why I chose the shady side to draw. I didn't really know, but as I drew this one, I realised it's because its tonally more interesting. Besides, this way it captures some of the essence of the burning sunshine too.

I have to confess that this is not a favourite piece out of those I have done so far this year. 
What do you think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More random stuff

 SQ Grand Mosque © Sue Pownall 2012
It's that time of year when I hit exhausted, which here in the Gulf is not helped by the heat - officially 48c as I type. It can't 'officially' go over 50 because work has to stop, this crazy temperature is NOT the reality. Feels like 41? No way more like feels like 51!!!!
Anyway it's been a strange few weeks. After the radio interview, which I shared in my last post, I was interviewed about my sketching for Y Magazine. The edition came out last Tuesday and below is the double page spread. The Pdf is here:

With both the radio and the magazine interviews focusing on my sketching I thought I should do some, so on Sunday I went to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. I was meeting a friend there who had never been. I arrived early in order to do the outside scene; sat in my car out of the heat of course. Top and below.
© Sue Pownall 2012
Whilst my friend wandered around, I found a spot to sit on the carpet and tried to capture some of the beauty of the mosque. However a quick sketch can hardly do it justice, so I must return with a whole morning to spare.
© Sue Pownall 2012
Finally, as my friend listened to a man talk about the mosque and Islam, I spent a couple of minutes trying to get an impression of the chandelier.
© Sue Pownall 2012
Drawing in an A5 sketchbook can only begin to capture it because:
The largest chandelier known in the world, weighs 8.5 tons. Made of Swarovski crystal, has gold plated metalwork, and hangs down for a length of 14 meters.  Source Ministry of Information & Swarovski Architecture.


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Saturday, June 9, 2012


Rula. Pen & Wash. 200 x200mm © Sue Pownall 2012

Cathy Read (check out her fab portfolio here) recently wrote about a change direction having been asked to do work as she used to do. After doing the work, she said "I’m even more certain the decision to change direction is right. Sometimes you need to stop, reassess and find a new route! And when you do, it’s good to have that change reinforced from time to time!"

A recent change for me was to start my Festival Faces series. I am enjoying drawing them and I'm impatient to do more, although the gallery wants more scenery, ruins etc first. I've just done a portrait commission, above, which I get asked to do periodically. Apart from my Festival Faces, which I have total freedom with I Hate - note capital H - portraiture. It's the need to produce something pretty, in normally different materials, although this one was in a "sketch" style. It pays for some materials, but takes time and energy. Will I do more portrait commissions? Probably as I only accept them about once a year BUT not at the expense of my other work.

Before anyone comments - I don't count my sketches as portraits as that's me trying to interpret a scene rather than capture someone's likeness and, like the Festival Faces, is not intended for the person I'm drawing.


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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Silver & pearls

Silver & pearls. 170x200mm © Sue Pownall 2012
I was asked to draw some more Arabic jewellery and chose this necklace, which I was given when I lived in Oman before. Building on earlier work produced for QMA, I decided to follow the same style. With this the outline and 90% of the drawing was drawn with a 0.3 nib. My usual work, like the portraits and landscapes are drawn using a 0.1 and 0.05 with a 0.3 being used only for dark accents. Drawing first with an 0.3 gives me a very scary feeling. However, I battled past the nerves and this drawing was mainly finished on the day I started it, but it's had a 2 week wait to finish it due to some commissions, which obviously took precedence. This morning I was awoken at 5.30 and after refusing to be awake until 6am - eyes tightly screwed shut, whilst chanting I am not awake - I gave up and finished this over my first cuppa. Do you like it?

Edit: To answer the question asked below by Mimi & John, this was drawn entirely using Rotring pens. I'm not a traditionalist and I'm very messy, so rarely use fountain or dip pens, although I occassionally use brushes. My pen of choice is a Staedtler Pigment liner.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012


Queen Elizabeth II © Sue Pownall 2012
 I'm not a Royalist, but I could hardly ignore this auspicious day - 
the Diamond Jubilee of the Queens coronation on 2 June 1953.

The photo reference I used is © Camera Press/Cecil Beaton 
and availbale on

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Sorry I'm not feeling 100% and didn't bother to fix the scan: the skin tones are off as is the gold leaf.