Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas

©Sue Pownall 2015
It's been a busy week: apart from the normal seasonal things - shopping, Christmas lunch with my mum, decorating my new studio, etc. - I've done a few new sketches, started a seasonal drawing, and been playing with my new SLR camera. The first photo was of my assistant, of course, then I tried some still life setups with my Christmas cards, one is above.
Next Sunday will be my annual review. I wonder how I've done?

To everyone who celebrates I wish you a very
Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tiptree Sings at Christmas

First, an apology as the autoposting to this blog hasn't worked for the last few posts. You can check out the missing ones here: Blog posts.

I love going to see choirs sing at Christmas, so last night I went back to Tiptree to see a friend sing in the choir she belongs to. The setting was St Lukes church, which I have only drawn from the outside, so made sure I had coloured pencils alongside my sketchbook.

My first sketch was of some of the female choristers chatting before the concert. They were very animated and seemed quite excited which I hope I captured in the sketch. What do you think?
Listening to the lovely singing, I sketched the top drawing showing a section of the choir and the church.

I forgot to take the proof of on-location sketching shot until the choir was about to start singing in the second half of the concert, but hopefully gives a little idea of my view.

Other news: I was very flattered when Simone Ridyard asked me to contribute to her architectural sketching book, Archisketcher. Yesterday, I received my copy and the whole book is fabulous! I would thoroughly recommend buying it for your shelves because of the fabulous content, not because of my contribution :)
Finally, due to logistics the Essex&Suffolk Sketchers have renamed themselves Colchester Sketchers. 
The FB group is here: Colchester Sketchers

Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Freshers' Week

View from Square 4 ©Sue Pownall 2015
Due to a cash flow issue, I am currently temping at the University of Essex. I only have 30 minutes for lunch but have managed to do a few sketches so far.
Tai chi demo in Square 4 ©Sue Pownall 2015
This one I did the week before...
Ivor Crewe lecture hall. ©Sue Pownall 2015
With a couple more weeks there, I wonder what I can do next.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Drinkdraw Chappel

This is as far as my first sketch got. ©SuePownall2015
My assistant.
The railway viaduct at Chappel has been on my "to-sketch" list for many years, so on Friday I arranged for the Essex & Suffolk Sketchers to meet at the Swan pub. With quickly failing light and the temperature dropping, I sat on a bench in the Swan's car park and quickly tried to paint it. It was difficult to tell the colours I was applying as the light changed and dropped. Above is as far as my first sketch got.

Heading into the pub to warm up, I think the guys having bar snacks got drawn by everyone. As usual, I spent more time chatting than drawing, so these two were all I did. Plus, Degas got bored and decided when it was time to go home.

I was sketching in an A4 Monologue sketchbook with Winsor & Newton watercolours & Inktense pencils.
Bar snacks. ©SuePownall2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Perfect Day?!

Spindle Drilling Machine
This weekend is Heritage Weekend in UK with many interesting places open for free. Yesterday, taking advantage of the lack of entrance fee, I went to the Museum of Power, Langford.

In situ in Museum of Power
The sound and sight of The 'Simpson' Belt Driven Workshop attracted my attention, so I decided to sketch there. With so many machines, belts, and interesting things I chose a small section to focus on and the above sketch is the result. Here is the in-situ photo. This sketch was done with a sepia Derwent pencil in A4 Monologue sketchbook. Whilst the afternoon sketch was Winsor & newton watercolours, Staedtlar Pigment liner in Daler A5 sketchbook.

After lunch, Degas and I went to Goldhanger for their Gala Weekend. With a karate demo going on in the churchyard, I took Degas down the road and walked her around the sea wall before heading into the village. As musicians were setting up in the Salty Dogs Tea Room, we headed there. It was the perfect afternoon: What's better than drinking tea (and eating carrot cake), in a beautiful garden, listening to live music, with your dog lying at your feet as you sketch?
Music, tea & cakes in a beautiful garden.
 It was a lovely day. What would make your perfect day?

Sunday, August 30, 2015


As a person, I think Christmas should not be thought about, advertised, nor shopped for until at least the end of October. However, as an artist the illustrations for Christmas cards need to be started (if not finished) now. One of my personal goals was to "Produce a series of illustrations to be sold as greeting cards" as stated in my Review & Resolutions post.

Consequently, here is the first one, which is available now in my print-on-demand store on Redbubble ( and will be available elsewhere soon.
Listening Robin. ©Sue Pownall 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

Drawing on the street

It's a funny thing, being an urban sketcher I'm used to drawing in public, out on the streets, but yesterday I was due to give a demonstration of my pen & ink work in front of a local art suppliers and beforehand I was very, very nervous. Whilst I have taught pen and ink, I have never worked up a drawing in front of people, and was very worried about the ugly duckling stage that it would go through.

Luckily, everyone who stopped by was lovely. Some had come deliberately to see me, others by happenstance and we talked about my art, art in general, sketching, equipment, and Oman. Two people had been there, one for work and the other on holiday - small world.

There was only one character who stayed for ages and was being purposely provocative including saying "You could be a brilliant artist, but you won't be". He felt my work was too safe and not experiemental enough. Maybe it isn't very experimental, I may think on that, but as he has never shown his work nor would he give his name, I shall not worry. With the exception of him everyone was very complimentary.
Ready to start my demo day at Tindalls, Colchester.
 The worry about the ugly duckling stage was needless. I had put down the outline beforehand and expected to reach it at some point in the day. However, I spent so much time chatting to all the lovely people, that in six hours I only completed less than an hour's drawing. You can see the progress below (sorry about the green tinge, it's from the gazebo).
WIP stages.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Whilst my sketching mojo has made a small comeback this week, I seem to have lost my words, hence the non-title of this post.

On Monday, I had 20 minutes to have a cuppa before a meeting in Somerset House. I sat on the terrace and had to sketch my view of the London Eye.
On Wednesday, I had to go to Maldon and with a spare half hour started to sketch an amazing garden-covered barge. I didn't have time to add colour, so I did it at home later.
On location photo
Thursday I was stuck in the hairdresser's for ages, so grabbed my A6 Laloran sketchbook. I'm a bit concerned as I don't recognise that old lady in the mirror.
Hair colour 2015
I sketched myself in the same position in 2010. I remember that I didn't wear my glasses and had to squint at the book.
Hair colour 2010
Then yesterday, I joined the Essex & Suffolk Sketchers at Henny fete, where I visited a local garden, which happened to be serving cream teas. Using a Daler A5 sketchbook, I sketched it to justify eating it despite my ever expanding waistline.
Cream tea in watercolours
Finally, I did a very quick sketch trying to capture a feeling of the quintessential English fete, whilst my assistant dug herself a hole.

As it was so colourful, I used a rainbow pencil by Lyra in my A5 Daler sketchbook.
My assistant checks my perspective
Henny fete
 So that was my sketching week. Now if I could only think of a title...

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Drawing August

Degas sunbathing. Inktense Pencil in Daler sketchbook
Still struggling with a missing drawing mojo, amongst other things, I started #DrawAugust which is a twitter hashtag challenge.

Back in January, for Liz Steel's Sketching Foundation course, I sketched the fence which divides the house from the neighbours. Now, in summer I resketched it as part of a changing story and as a record of my parents' garden.
Following that, I did another sketch from the garden. This time the ripening apples on the neighbour's overhanging apple tree.  
A very quick sketch of the birdbath was done on the 3rd.Whilst today I have sketched Degas sunbathing in it. 
Ripening apples. Ink & watercolour in Daler

I aim to do more garden drawings over the month, which I'll share here. What are you doing this week?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Drinking and drawing

3rd Essex & Suffolk Sketchers DrinkDraw event.


...talking and playing.

Here I am sketching

On Friday night, I had arranged for the Essex and Suffolk sketchers to have a 3rd DrinkDraw evening. These evenings are proving to be very successful and we had a good turn out again.

We went to the Rose and Crown in Wivenhoe, which has this great quayside beer garden. The above photo shows us hard at work sketching the estuary, boats, pub and more.

I spent most of my time chatting and/or playing with my assistant, who likes the drinkdraw evenings out, than painting. oh well there's always next month. 

Here's my one sketch, direct watercolour in an A5 Daler sketchbook.

Lowtide on the River Colne.
More talking than sketching occurred last Saturday too. It was the #48th Worldwide Sketchcrawl day, so I arranged to join the Drawing London on Location group at the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. Unfortunately, my sketching mojo didn't come too. I was ready to sketch on the train but... it was packed as the Norwich train had been offloaded onto the train I caught. I found a seat, got sketchbook and glasses out and... the man next to me proceeded to tell me all about his life as a cruise ship pianist. 

Arriving at the museum, it was one of those days that the scale of the building was intimidating and the gardens stunning but... nothing grabbed my attention. I decided a cup of tea was the solution, which it was as I loved the organic lamps and was lucky enough to have the people I was drawing stay as long as I sketched.

The Geffrey café
After another wander around looking at the exhibits, I chatted to a few other sketchers, then decided to head off to look for my sketching mojo elsewhere.  As my lack of results on Friday show, it hadn't come back by then. Fingers crossed I relocate it this week.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Sketcher at Tavistock Edge

A small section of the flash choir.
As mentioned in my previous post, we were down in Devon to sketch the new Tavistock Edge event. My assistant was an absolute star, so we spent virtually all day at the event.
My assistant and I
First up was a flash choir in the Pannier Market. Naturally, I knew where and when this was occurring and found a bench to sit on, although hadn't planned on the huge crowd blocking my view. The sound was lovely and Degas was happy as long as she had her pig's ear and no-one stood on her paws or tail.

Next up, we wandered to the Buskstop, and sketched The Diggurz, who list the genre as roots/redneck/celtic. Degas was fantastic even having a little dance at one point. There is one sketch below, to see the rest please head over here.

Guitarist of the Diggurz.
From the Buskstop, we wandered down the road to see the Lodestone Border Morris group. Degas found the stick bashing a problem, yet still stayed for a couple of dances. I'm really pleased with the sketch as I tried to focus on the colour and movement. What do you think?
Lodestone Border Morris
 Finally, we wandered to St Eustachius' churchyard where there was a whole afternoon of entertainment. My favourite was Miss Von Trapp who describes herself as "Murderously Quirky Dark Cello Cabaret: Morbidly Vaudeville Songs, Cabaret Numb...ers and Performance Poetry to revolt and entertain..." and I thought she was brilliant.
My assistant checks out Mis Von Trapp
I certainly hope the festival will continue next year as we had a great time. To see all the sketches please go here.What do you think of my sketches? Have you sketched somewhere similar? Please leave a comment as I love to receive them.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Devon doodles

Trying to capture the evening sun.
Having an invitation to a new fringe event in Devon, Tavistock Edge, I decided my assistant and I would have a holiday beforehand and found a cottage for us just on the edge of Dartmoor. I did lots of sketches throughout the week. I was especially fascinated with the cattle in the next field, as was Degas, so I drew them as she barked at them.

Here are some of the landscapes:
8th July Morning rain
A very quick sketch of Cox Tor as my assistant was impatient to explore.

Here is a selection of the animal sketches:
5th July Calves in evening showers.
More cattle.
You can see more here: Great landscapes & animals.

I'll post the Tavistock Edge sketches next Sunday.
What do you think of my sketches? I'd love it if you left me a comment below. 
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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Where was I?

Accepting Braintree Chamber prize
This year I've been entering a few exhibitions, and have been quite successful. 
Last month, I entered and was juried into the Braintree Open AND I won the Braintree Chamber prize.
Storm over the Saltings hung at Braintree Open.
 Also, in Braintree, I was chosen to have a painting in the Art Trail.

Wentworth House, in position in the art trail.
Finally, I had a painting juried into the Harwich Open.
Broken Dreams hung in the Harwich Open.
So that's where you could find me in June. What were you up to? You can tell me in a comment to this post.