There are places in this world which grab the soul of every traveler with wanderlust. Sometimes it’s a constant and often it changes over time. For British artist Sue Pownall, her soul’s home is in Khartoum, The Sudan, where she finds peace. Yet, her nomadic soul finds inspiration in almost every corner of the globe, most recently in the middle east.
Sue began drawing with crayons, as every child does. Sue and her Dad would watch those instructional art programs on TV and try to copy the screenshot. So, with the encouragement and support of loving parents she made her way through the Plymouth College of Art & Design in the U.K. While she trained as a graphic designer, she found that the profession didn’t afford her much opportunity to create with her own passion.
With the onset of a true nomadic, expat life, Sue placed sketchpad in bag and began traveling the world, capturing the faces and scenes which came to life before her eyes.
“It’s the people that keep me in the Middle East, especially Omanis who are kind, friendly people,” she says. “The lifestyle I have here is simple and revolves around art.” Sue says Qatar was a livelier place to be but within a few hours she can now fly or drive to Dubai for culture and nightlife. A sketch can be as quick and simple as capturing a woodcarver plying his craft, or a more detailed portrait such as The Woodsman, which was developed over a month from photos and smaller sketches.
I first discovered Sue’s work from the cover of her blog a few years ago. The art drew me in because it was packed with emotion. While she generally begins a quick portrait sketch while observing someone in their natural surroundings, she will ask for permission from the subject if it is going to be a more detailed sketch.
Sue Pownall’s art is available online at her website. Her portraits of Omanis are soon to be featured in a series called “Festival Faces.” She is also an active member of Urban Sketchers, which “shows the world one sketch at a time.”