Sunday, July 3, 2016


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Sunday, June 19, 2016

New Town Open Gardens

Spreads to date ©Sue Pownall 2016
Back in February, I was invited to sketch the New Town Open Garden event. The event is this afternoon, but I made a head start yesterday by sketching the Community Garden and both of the organisers gardens too.

I shall do all the initial drawing on site using a Seawhite concertina sketchbook, but finish inking and colour in the studio.
Eighteen to go this afternoon! Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Morris dancing

On Friday, I arranged a drinkdraw event to coincide with the Colchester Morris Men ( dancing at the Alma, Copford.
The dancers move very fast and I filled several pages of movement sketches. Top, is a general scene, which was my final sketch of the evening and one of the dancing. More pics can be seen on my site here: Morris dancing

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sketchmeet: Concert in the park.

Impression of the bandstand and The Band of The Parachute Regiment
Last Sunday, I arranged for the Colchester Sketchers to sketch at the bandstand in Colchester Castle Park where The Band of the Parachute Regiment were playing. The concert was great, the sun was out for the majority of the afternoon, and there was a good turn out of sketchers. The only negative has to be my wonky perspective and roof on my watercolour.
People in the audience
The band leader
After doing the watercolour sketch, I did the two quick pencil sketches above.

What do you think of them? The band liked my watercolour.


Next Sunday, if you are in the Colchester area, you will find me at the Farmers Market at Bourne Mill, where I have a table showing sketches, paintings and selling prints and cards. Pop by and say hello :)

Have a lovely week everyone.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Neighbours Rooves & Chimneys

I seem to have developed a minor fascination with sketching my neighbours chimneys and rooves, so far all from the confines of my house. However, now the READ MORE AND SEE THE IMAGES HERE

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Drinking and drawing

Pencil sketch of Natasha Robertson at The Black Buoy's April/May Beer Festival 2016
I have just returned from the Black Buoy in Wivenhoe's May bank holiday real ale festival. My assistant and I sat outside sketching and listening to the music, although my assistant was more interested in the fish and chips.

Earlier this week, I arranged for the Colchester Sketchers to drink/draw at the Bricklayers. My first sketch of my Aspell's cider was the most successful and is shared below.

Direct watercolour sketch.
 Finally, something different, I currently have my experimental piece hung at the Art Exchange where it was selected for the Celebrate Landscape exhibition. If you are in the area, pop in before it closes next Saturday.
BTW. Last week's post didn't autopost here. You can read it by clicking this link I Draw Do You?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Arty Time

Channelling Monet. Colour planned on site but added later.
On Wednesday, I headed to town with the first stop at the Royal Academy to see the Painting the Garden: Monet to Matisse exhibition. It was the most inspiring exhibition I have seen in a long time and I just want to draw and paint gardens.

Sketched inside the exhibition.

Next stop was at my favourite London gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, where I went from inspiring paintings to amazing photography in the Vogue 100: A hundred years of style.

Arriving early to meet friends and fellow artists, Jean Edwards & Minnie, I took inspiration from the Monet exhibition and sketched the pub focusing on the garden. (top).

After dinner, it was off to the Tower of London. Arriving early I used the 15 minute wait to sketch the Shard. (below)
 We were at the Tower of London for a fabulous evening at #DrawnattheTower with Art Macabre: Ravens and Morbid Corvids. I started off drawing the RavenMaster, who was a fount of knowledge on everything corvid down to the naming of the birds: he was holding Gripp. After a couple of sketches of Gripp, I moved on to the pairs of ravens in their cages. They are only caged at night and roam freely around the Tower during the day. The ravens were very challenging to sketch and moved a lot, my results were not helped by my butterfly brain wating to take photos and chat to the Raven Master: love interesting people. I think my last sketch, drawn on black paper, is the most successful and I have hung it up in the studio. Here it is:
To see the rest please go here to the slideshow

After all that artistic input, I've been very busy drawing and planning prints since coming home. I especially want to get on with my Bourne Mill gardening project. What have you been working on?

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sketchmeet at the garden centre

Poplar Nurseries. ©Sue Pownall 2016
Yesterday, I arranged a sketchmeet for the Colchester Sketchers at a local garden centre. It was an inspiring afternoon albeit very chilly.
Settling down to sketch.
Trophy shot of scene and sketch.
Sketch 2 a gardeners trolley.

Colchester Sketchers (minus 1) chilly but inspired.
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Monthly challenges

WIP Bourne Mill in winter

There's a new challenge over on twitter led by Anthony Greentree (@antsgreentree) called #buildapril, which is is all about buildings and structures in any media.

Above is my 1st April sketch of my across-the-road neighbours drawn with a Super5 pen with DeAtramentis ink and painted with Winsor & Newton watercolours in A Daler Ebony A5 sketchbook. Whilst right is a work in progress started yesterday of Bourne Mill.

Last month's challenge was #animalmarch, and I started well with daily sketches of my assistant, but then life got in the way. Here are a selection of them:
1st March. Pencil sketch
4th March Digital sketch

8th March. Ink sketch

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Egg Hunt

Children hand-in their egg hunt sheets in exchange for a Cadbury chocolate bunny. ©Sue Pownall 2016
I was invited to sketch the Egg Hunt at Bourne Mill, a National Trust property, over the Easter weekend.

Good Friday was a glorious spring day, clear skies and sunshine, and the Mill proved to be a very popular venue for an egg hunt as there were over 300 entries, so more Cadbury's bunnies were needed for the rest of the weekend. On Saturday, the forecasted rain held off and saw many more families completing the hunt. Unfortunately, due to Storm Katie and the 50pmh plus winds, the mill was closed on Easter Monday.

Sitting at a picnic table alongside the pond, I sketched the children trying to solve the clues. It was funny watching many of the dads work it out, spot the eggs, almost point, then clamp their mouths shut until their son or daughter could do it.
Egg hunters. ©Sue Pownall
Eggs were hidden throughout the property and I had to find places to sketch without giving the location away and refrain from looking at the eggs when children were near. Here are a couple of them:
A clue in the bug hotel. ©Sue Pownall
The pitt room egg. ©Sue Pownall
Finally, the egg hunters returned to the desk and claimed their Cadbury's bunnies. (Top image)
Right is a photo of me sketching in the wheel room. Behind me is the wheel, which was incredibly noisy, but it was an atmospheric place to sketch.

I have to confess, I am disappointed the weekend is now over as it was a great event to attend in a lovely location.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hello spring!

The gates are open for 2016 at the National Trust's Bourne Mill. ©SuePownall
Today is the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere, and spring is one of my favourite seasons. I also like autumn ... and summer ... oh and winter if I'm inside and warm and it's snowing outside.

On Wednesday, I was sketching outside in order to record the 2016 opening of the National Trust property, Bourne Mill. I'm working with the property this year, so rather than sketch the building, other than the outline, I chose to focus on the open gates.

I used a Monologue sketchbook and inked on site. However, I added the watercolour added at home due to icy wind.
St. Patrick's Day. ©SuePownall
 On Thursday, Saint Patrick's Day provided the opportunity to get some green paint out as I sketched with some friends in a local pub. The above sketch was completed on site, Winsor & Newton watercolour with Staedtlar pen in A5 Daler sketchbook.
Sketching with my assistant.
 More green featured this morning, which is why I'm blogging this evening, as I experimented monoprinting using a Gelli plate. Some of these prints I am thinking of working up, maybe with stencils, or watercolour, or.... not sure. Some as collage backgrounds, maybe. Whilst one will become an Easter card to send to my mum.
Spring monoprint experiments. ©SuePownall
Now, I'm looking forward to lots of garden drawing, flower sketching, and more spring printing.

 What about you? Is spring your favourite season? What are you working on?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Essex Book Festival Lecture

Lecture notes. ©Sue Pownall
The Essex Book Festival is on throughout March in various locations across the county. Due to other commitments, so far I have only attended a lecture at the University of Essex last Monday. It was called "From Print to Pixels: The Many Futures of Reading Kodachrome Travels: How colour changed the way we see the world."  I went as I am interested in both colour and film, but have to confess I didn't get the connection to books. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture given by Professor Jeffery Geiger and realise I miss learning. Time to return  to study?

Three moments around the lecture. ©Sue Pownall
 Top image: In the sketch, I wanted to capture Prof. Geiger, but ended up getting so engrossed in what he was saying the page got covered in lecture notes. I did get the colour added at the same time. I'd forgotten, but when I studied at Essex my lecture notes often looked like this, as I strove to capture keywords and points.

Below:  I started on the right-hand page where the three people were stood on the stage chatting prior to the lecture. It seems as if they were friends of the professor and sat behind me when it started. Top left is the woman who introduced the lecture. Then the final sketch on the bottom-left was made during the Q&A session and I loved her twisted body image.

Where have you sketched this week?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sketching poolside

My assistant's left leg is giving her a lot of problems, so she is currently undergoing hydrotherapy. As she only paddles and doesn't swim, I was a little anxious, but after her second proper session, she is doing well... and the yellow head float has been removed.
Week 1
The first week, I took some photos, but this week, as she was calmer I sketched a little. It was difficult as I couldn't wear my glasses due to the humidity. I think I managed to capture the idea, don't you?
Inktense pencils in Daler sketchbook.

Monday, February 29, 2016


Stencil on Gelli plate on old damaged book leaf.
Earlier this week I visited a printmaker friend, Jean Edwards, her work is here, who introduced me to Gelli plates. I really enjoyed it and produced the background above. Once home, I added the stencilled swan. Stencilling is something I have rarely done, but was inspired by Penenlope Dullaghan's homework in Sketchbook Skool.
Ink on watercolour wash.
 Those of you who follow me on Instagram ( @suepownallartist15 ) have seen the work in progress on the above piece before. I finished it yesterday, I think, and would appreciate your thoughts on it. Please leave them in a comment below.


On another matter, yesterday I got to give a pen & ink demo at Tindalls,a local art suppliers. I got to meet some lovely people and look forward to running a workshop for them in March.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


My assistant plays in the mud whilst I sketch
I'm finding it hard to write a post, here's why:
  1. I have a personal project, which is going well, but it is currently a secret except for those involved;
  2. I have an illustration commission, which involves me traveling a little over the next couple of days, but I can't say anything about that at the moment = Another secret;
  3. I am trying to set up a small arty business venture, but it's in the planning stages, so that's all I can say about that; and
  4. On Wednesday, I was part of a group artist/poets meeting, as I am involved with an Ekphrasis project. Although it's not a secret, there is nothing to share yet;
so what to post is a dilemma.

I guess it's a good time to dip into the sketchbook and share a few recent sketches.
East Mersea, where, despite a cold, blustery wind, I managed a quick sketch.
A perfect excuse for a piece of cake, a new sketchbook to start.

Whilst Degas had her check up at QVSH, I sketched this spaniel in the waiting room.
 Have you any secrets to share? What have you been up to recently? 
Why not leave me a comment below, I love to read them!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Backstage at the Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre foyer, pencil in A5 Daler sketchbook. ©Sue Pownall 2016
Yesterday, I managed to get a ticket for a backstage tour of the Mercury Theatre in Colchester. Arriving early, I sketched the foyer as I keep avoiding complex subjects. Before I finished it was time to start the tour, so I added colour at home. The foyer has very clever blue lighting highlighting different planes as well as blue carpet.

We started the tour in the Studio Theatre (continue reading here)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Minibook

pages 2 and 3 ©Sue Pownall
This year, as part of my personal development, I am taking Sketchbook Skool's Expressing class. Last week's lessons were with illustrator Jill Weber and our homework was to write and illustrate a min-book, which we had to make. Our books had to share something about ourselves, so I chose to tell Degas' story.
Unfolded mini-book
My book is still unfinished, the final drawing to complete and the type to ink in, as I've had to work on a couple of other things. This is something very different from what I would normally do, hence the reason to do the course. I enjoyed the whole process but it's frustrating to have life interfere with getting it finished.
Front cover
Back cover
What do you think? Have you done anything similar? Why not share the link to your work below so I can see it?