To finish don't you think this is the cutest photo? Degas was on our roof watching the sunset.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 lovley run on the beach with Degas.
Where do you like to sketch?
Why not leave me a comment saying where?
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.
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.
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.
Let me know if you like these, or would like to see more. Thanks.
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.
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.
On Saturday, Muscat Sketchers gathered for the 9th Muscat Sketch event at the Children's museum. It is still too hot to sketch outside (around 40°C / 104°F at noon). As with our last event I stopped at a nearby coffee shop first to add a second drawing in my concertina Moleskin sketchbook, but was unable to finish it on site as I had to meet the group. Consequently, I added some darker tones at home.
During the morning, eight sketchers drew various exhibits and Kim's two children enjoyed testing them out (see pic). To me, it seemed a very provincial science museum from the 80s, but it seems very popular with families, and the children certainly had fun.
My internal sketch was not very successful, as I tried to get an impression of the general scene, but I'm happier with the 5 minute sketch of the building I made at midday. I had to add colour at home, as I couldn't stand outside any longer than necessary to get a few guidelines down. I should have drawn it when I arrived, but it was already in the 30s then, so wouldn't have been much better.
Degas likes chewing boxes!
I left this one too close to the side of the worktop after I removed a sachet, which was luckily the last one in the box. I have suffered from cold/flu type symptoms all week, hence the Lemsip. Degas chewed the box then went to sleep with it between her paws. I'm supposed to be working on drawings for my exhibition, but this sketch is all I've managed today.
Do you have the same problem? Why not leave a comment telling me what your pet does? Or the sketches you do of them.
On Saturday, I started the concertina Moleskin that we got at the symposium before Sketch Muscat 8. I've decided to record Muscat coffee shops in it. The Muscat Gate Coffee Shop is past the airport behind a garage (filling station). All the business I observed was of people driving up, a waiter passing a bag of food through the car window, and them driving off to eat/drink at a different location. Many just tooted their horn and a waiter scuttled over with a bag, so I assume they had phoned in their order prior to collection.
I found the Moleskin a little problematic for a couple of reasons. First, a mental struggle with myself as I do not use the first page of a sketchbook and had to force myself to start there. Next, I found it a little difficult due to the concertina of the pages behind. However, as I already know which coffee shop is going on the next page, I will continue with this mini-project.
Next, it was onto Sketch Muscat 8, a sketching event I had organised. Although I'd arranged the Muscat Sketchers to meet in Costa's, I didn't add any more drawings to the moleskin. Eight people turned up to sketch plus Pari's daughter and we had a good mix of nationalities: Omani, English, Indian, German, Kenyan and Filipino. I took the opportunity of eating some cheesecake as it looked a great subject to draw - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I also did a café scene sketch, but didn't get very far with it.
Thanks Aziz Al Hahdhami for the cheesecake photos.
I'm currently working towards my solo exhibition, which is on from 7th December here in Muscat.
This is a sneak peak at the first new work that I've produced. If you want to see the whole thing, you'll have to wait until the exhibition.
Having finally completed and delivered a long-over due commission piece, I can now share it here.The approved rough
I started by visiting the building, taking photos and sketching it in situ. It is a complex building being in 3 parts due to extensions, and this first step was necessary to understand it. Then, I got my lovely client to approve a view and started work.
Due to the situation with mum and dad, it got horribly delayed as I found it impossible to concentrate. Plus I have Degas who takes up far too much time and attention. However, this week, 2 months late, I delivered it.
If you would like to commission me to draw your home, please use the contact form on this site.