Sunday, December 22, 2013

Catch up: A month of sketches

Degas' headless bear. Inktense pencils. 17th December.
 Whilst I have managed to do some sketching in the run up to my exhibition, I failed to find the time to scan anything. Consequently, I'm writing this long post to catch up on sharing them. They are all from my A5 sketchbook and I seem to be using my Inktense coloured pencils a lot.
Back on the 13th November, The RAF Red Arrows came to Muscat, and I had an invitation to view their display from the Hotel Intercontinental. I took the afternoon off work, and arrived early to avoid the traffic and by coincidence had time to "draw" a cheesecake in their Majlis café, of course I ate it too. The sketch doesn't do it justice - It was yummy.
Red Arrows. Pen & coloured pencil 13/11/13
In the gardens, I sketched some of the spectators prior to the display, which was awesome. I've seen them several times over the years and this display was possibly the best. I added colour (& the planes) later in order to add context for the groups of people.
Inktense pencils 22 Nov.
22nd saw me drawing socks, which I'd put on due to  the heavy rains and drop in temperature. Degas thinks socks are the funniest things and always tries to either remove them and/or chew them whilst they are on my feet.
An action shot of Degas and my sock :(
I am a huge Dr Who fan, so the following day saw me streaming the BBC's 50th Anniversary edition. I had intended to sketch during the programme and drew my laptop/tv connected through the HDMI, doodled some logos before the start and then... got engrossed in the story. Below is the incomplete sketch, again in Inktense pencil and here is a previous Dr Who sketch from March 2012.
Two days later, I had a whole day of presentations to sit through with the day job. I took my sketchbook and pencils and proceeded to sketch throughout the day. Here are some of the pages I did complete with my notes.

On the 11th December, being 11.12.13 for us with UK date system, I had to draw soemthing. I looked around and saw this shell, which Degas had left in the lounge.
Degas's shell. Pencil
 Finally, the bear at the top of this post was sketched on the 17th. Degas loves soft toys, especially destuffing them. The bear caught my eye when she left it face down, so I had to draw it. If you want to see beautiful bear paintings, please check out my friend Sandra Busby's amazing paintings here:

So that's it, a month of sketches.

Degas and I wish you all a Merry Christmas. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Art of a Nomad Exhibition

With my amazing host, Tess.
Friday, brought the vernissage for my first solo exhibition. Hung were 30 pieces, which included the drawing of the venue that I had been commissioned to draw (above) and some of my sketches. The venue is a hub of events here in Muscat and is a fabulous exhibition space. (Next weekend is a charity gig for a family in the Philippines whose homes have been destroyed in the typhoon. I'm donating 10% of any sales made on the evening).
My first red dot!
A wall of portraits. Another dot was later added to Still Celebrating by Mary (left)
My final dot of the evening #6 as Elena bought Al Minsefah Doorway
 The following morning, we held a coffee morning, which was well attended and resulted in 2 more sales. I was very pleased to have Omanis visiting and even buying my work, which was a lovely surprise as I view my market as being expatriates.
Omanis looking at my Omani portraits.
Both the vernissage and the coffee morning exceeded my expectations and, as I said on facebook, but it needs repeating THANK YOU to everyone who made it a success. BIG THANKS to my host Tess for everything she did, I am truly blessed to have Tess as a friend. To Marek who helped set up and gave me lovely roses on the night. To Jon who sorted out the drinks and music and Stephen who did the photos all evening. Lastly, but not any less in importance, a thank you to all my friends who came to support me

Monday, November 18, 2013

Back in the mists of time

Tilly  Watercolour 29 x40 cm. ©Sue Pownall
As I am saving the unveiling of new work until my exhibition, which is less than a scary 3 weeks away, I haven't had much to post recently. There are some sketches to come, when I get a chance to scan them, so in the meantime, I thought I would share this portrait I painted ways-back in the mists of time whilst I was at Plymouth College of Art & Design. The reason I was looking at it, as I'm sure you can guess, is that when the exhibition is over I intend to paint a portrait of Degas. 

To finish don't you think this is the cutest photo? Degas was on our roof watching the sunset.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sketch Muscat 10

 Yesterday afternoon, was the Muscat Sketchers first outside event of the winter (it's too hot outside in the summer). We were a very small group out sketching, but we all had fun with some fab results. Unfortunately, the event clashed with several other things like The Barney Show, which meant several mum's couldn't come.
This is me struggling with my 1st sketch.
 This was a return visit to the gardens at Wadi Al Azaiba for the group. I don't appear to have blogged about the first event in March, but then this has been a strange year. The garden has been designed by Parisian landscape architect Jacqueline Osty and this is just the first phase of a much larger garden planned for this area. I saw her speak at the Muscat Art Festival in February, which inspired me to plan an event here.
A few of the remaining sketchers at the end of SketchMuscat 6.
With only 5 weeks until my exhibition, I had spent the morning fighting myself to work on a drawing and really wasn't in the mood for sketching. Consequently, my first sketch was a disaster. However the garden worked its magic and just sketching weaved it's usual spell on me, and my second (last) sketch was much better. 
My last sketch, badly photographed on site.
 All too soon the afternoon was over, we took our group photo and headed our seperate ways... mine was to my new home in a fishing village outside Muscat and a lovely run on the beach with Degas.
30 seconds from my house. Photo by Gavin.
 Where do you like to sketch? Why not leave me a comment saying where?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Handbag portraits

Mahir. A6 sketchbook 23 Sept
I carry a small A6 sketchbook in my handbag; most of the time it doesn't get taken out. Over the last few months it appears I have used it for portraits and thought I would share them today. They are all of young Omani BP trainees.
Hatem, A6 sketchbook, 4th August

Mahmoud, A6 sketchbook, 4th July

Salim, A6 sketchbook, 17th Sept
What do you think? Do you have a sketchbook you carry around all the time? What do you sketch in it? Why not leave a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Autumnal signs

28th Sept
Last weekend, whilst I had a little spare time here in UK, I tried to capture some of the British autumn. Unfortunately, I haven't stopped running around nor touched my sketchbook since. 
Dad's tomato plant 29th Sept
 Let me know if you like these, or would like to see more. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good morning

A daytime nap, A5 sketchbook.
Beware a long post follows...

Subconsciously, I hear a clip clip of claws on tiles. Then, suddenly I awake fully as a paw hits me in the face… I check the clock 4.45am sigh … At the same time, Degas stretches out and lies across my middle; all 22kgs pinning me down. Having sleepily fussed Degas, I struggle up, pushing her off my stomach and pull on some clothes. The last thing on is my trousers and it’s the usually fight as she paws at them and chews my arms in her excitement to go out. I remember a time when my clothes didn’t have holes in them as both my T-shirt and trousers are holey now… only 6 months ago, but it seems a distant past.

At the door, Degas sits and I let her out of the flat with a hissed “steady”, but she runs full tilt downstairs, sliding into the wall where the stairs change direction. I meet her at the bottom of the stairs as she’s rushed back from the door to see what’s keeping me. She reluctantly sits, without being told, at the door but her whole body is wiggling as I clip on the lead, then she’s off like a rocket towing me like a ragdoll behind her.

Of course, having looked after my parents dogs over the years, and despite having Degas for almost 6 months, I still expect her to squat as soon as she’s outside… but no. She dilly dallies and wanders around for what seems like hours with me whispering for her to pee. Finally, we can go back inside. Back upstairs, I stupidly check the time – 4.55am – and debate with myself if I should go back to bed or not. I choose to go back and Degas comes too, snuggling up back to back. Sometimes she sleeps but often she starts chewing the sheets, pillow, or anything else in range including me.

5.40am I get kicked in the back and then I feel 4 paws trying to push me out of bed. Sigh. More cuddles are required before she lets me out of bed and then alternates between chewing my arms and hands or circling my legs in her impatience for a walk. I pull my clothes back on, fight for my trousers, struggle to get a harness on my squirming puppy, wait for her to sit, tell her to steady, and follow her rushing body back downstairs.

After a dawdle around the waste ground, we set off around the neighbourhood. Spotting a cat, she pulls my arm out of its socket as she tries to go and play with it. Hauling her back, she sits down facing the cat and as I attempt to get her back on route she lies down, on her side, in the dust. Of course, construction workers are on the street and I can almost hear the chuckles as I try to get her back to her feet and continue walking. By 6.10 we are home again, but now she refuses to sit at the front door. I stand there. She walks to the end of her lead away from the door… and sits facing the street. SIGH!  I tug her back to the door, get her sat and in we go. 

At this point, I finally get to put the kettle on for my first cup of tea and whilst it boils, I clean my teeth. Six months ago I would never have left the house without either, but already I’ve been out twice. I make my tea, sit at my desk to check emails as I know I won’t be allowed to draw, and Degas jumps up at the window where the birds are drinking. She paws the window and I wonder if it’ll break. Then, bored with tormenting the birds she bounces on me and demands to be played with. I’m halfway through my tea, but she’s jumping up, and chewing my arms. 

At 6.25 I abandon my tea and computer, hunt for her ball, and go outside to the yard around the building. Having closed the gate we play fetch. She charges after the ball and back often bowling into me. Then she drops it, picks it up, drops it, picks it up, slobbers all over my hands and holey trousers as I take the ball from her. After several throws, she gets distracted and, ball in mouth, sticks her head out of the far gate and… drops it. We watch it roll across the pavement and into the street. I put her back on the lead, no easy nor quick task once she’s outside, and go into the street to recover it. After a few more throws, she drops the ball in the yard and goes and waits by the door, as I retrieve her ball.

Upstairs, I taste my tea – cold, so have my muesli with a glass of water. Every third day, like today, I give the empty pouring yoghurt bottle to her, holding it so she can lick the mouth, then she takes it to chew and dribble yoghurt across the rug and sofa. On other days I have to play ball again, so it’s a welcome relief this morning. I check the time… eek 6.50am I eat the last spoonfuls of my muesli and head for the shower. As I’m washing I realise my legs are hairy but I have only time to wash. Sigh. At this point a head appears under the shower curtain, laps up some water, licks my leg (eew), then disappears. As I’m rinsing my hair I can hear her playing on the bed and I pray it’s with her toys.  

Wrapped in my towel, I see Degas is wrapped in the sheets in her attempt to strip the bed, which I’d made 3 minutes earlier. I spot footprints on the sheets and wonder if I should wash the sheets, but I don’t have time to put on the machine and the spare set are already in the wash. Sigh. Attempting to straighten the sheets around a playful Degas, she slobbers my arms and hands... I’ve been clean less than a minute. A thought flits across my mind as to when I will lose the smell of puppy slobber which I’ve had permanently as a perfume since she arrived. Pulling on my clothes, I check the time. 7.10 – time to leave for the day job.
Stripping the sheets is such fun especially when I end up in a mass of material.
Degas, happily chewing the sheets, refuses to move off the bed, and bounces about as I try to shoo her out of the room. Finally, I trick her into the lounge, put the baby-gate in place, put on my shoes,  and with a final “be good” leave. In the car, I sigh with relief I’ve survived another morning, I check the time 7.20, and notice I will be late again despite getting up so early. SIGH.