Categories
Art Drawing Faces Gouache Painting People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Nate W. in Grey Hoodie

Nate Washington in a grey hoodie, painted in gouache.
Nate Washington in gouache on paper, 10 x 7.5”

Nate Washington (IG link) is a comedian and podcaster who shared his reference photo for this portrait on Sktchy, here. (Except Sktchy app is now called “Museum”)

Karl Staub (IG link), the teacher who used Nate’s photo for his demo did a very graphic, poster-like rendering (see below). I was tempted to do that too, but decided to just continue with my own style instead.

Nate Washington in a grey hoodie, sketched in pencil.
Nate W. in pencil, 10×7.5

Above is my original sketch for the portrait. I had fun finding the planes on his face and clothes. Below is a screenshot for the 30 Faces/30 Days – Watercolor & Gouache class on Sktchy displaying the teacher’s work.

This was supposed to be a 30 portraits in 30 days class, but I think I’m now on month three instead. That’s because since last December I started working out every morning, doing indoor cycling, rowing and running classes plus daily core classes and alternating days of weights, yoga, Pilates, and Barre and two hikes a week with friends. I paint in the afternoon.

I’m getting stronger and fitter and having fun. But it’s always a challenge to find balance between all the things that make up a good life. I’m very fortunate and grateful for the luxury of the choices I get to make.

Categories
Art

From Head Scarf to Siberia: Portraits in Gouache

Woman with Headscarf, gouache, 10x8"
Woman with Headscarf, gouache, 10×8″

Look how beautiful her teeth are! I think I spent more time on her teeth than anything else and actually, it was fun. The photo reference below is from the 30 days in Gouache and Watercolor series on Sktchy. I didn’t like the warm color scheme or the teacher’s approach (Instagram link) so I went about it my own way, changing the background color and choosing a limited palette as you can see in the color samples above.

Below is my initial sketch and the reference photo.

Preliminary Sketch
Reference photo

Before I tackled the portrait above, I tried and failed repeatedly on the portrait below.

Failed portrait of Siberian woman, gouache, approx 10x8"
Siberian woman, gouache, approx 10×8″

I tried to follow along with the young, talented Siberian artist teaching the class whose painting technique (Instagram link) I loved. I think the problem was the flat lighting on the subject, which I find much harder to draw and paint than when there are shadows that create or delineate structure.

Here are two preliminary sketches and the reference photo. I didn’t get the head angle right in Sketch #1 so I started over.

Sketch #2
Sketch #1
Reference Photo

Categories
Art Drawing Faces Gouache Painting People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Forest Bather in Gouache

Bennett P from Sktchy in Gouache, 10×7 inches

I really enjoyed painting this calm, pleasant young man amidst the trees, seemingly bathing in the cool forest light. You can see his original photo reference on Sktchy here.

I started with a pencil sketch on copy paper. Then to check my drawing, I compared my sketch to the photo by scanning my sketch into Procreate with the original photo. On a new layer I traced the photo with a red line and layered that over the sketch (see below). Using the red lines as a reference, I corrected my original sketch on paper, transferred the sketch to watercolor paper and then painted.

Bennett’s reference photo was part of the Sktchy “30 days in Watercolor and Gouache” class taught by Mike Creighton, one of my favorite Sktchy teachers. I thought it would be interesting to share his painting; such a different feel from mine!

Mike Creighton’s gouache painting

He used a limited palette and did a lot of mark making with his brush. I know the idea of the Sktchy classes is to try to mimic the teachers in order to learn a variety of different approaches and techniques, but I almost always end up taking what I like and then going my own way.

Categories
Art Gouache Painting People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Mystery Girl Detective in Purple

Kate K. from Sktchy, gouache on paper, 8.5 x 7 inches
Kate K. from Sktchy, gouache on paper, 8.5 x 7 inches

While I worked on the sketch for this painting I listened to a mystery audiobook with a female detective so when it came time to do the painting, I decided to make her a detective in a dark subway or tunnel. Using a limited, complimentary palette of mostly purple and yellow (because of her hair, see reference photo below) I put her in a purple trench coat.

Kate K. from Sktchy reference photo
Kate K. from Sktchy reference photo

The teacher for this lesson on Sktchy Art School is a big fan of patterned backgrounds, as you can see in this link to her painting. She used “Acryla Gouache” in her demo, which I have tried and don’t like. It’s basically just opaque and matte acrylic, not “real” gouache in my opinion.

Initial sketch for painting of Kate K.
Initial sketch for painting of Kate K.

In the sketch above you can see that I indicated the divisions between the shadows and light areas. I’m trying to focus on keeping my value families separated, keeping the darks together separately from the lights family.

Categories
Art Drawing Faces Gouache Painting Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Librarian (?) in Gouache with Zorn Palette

Stacy D from Sktchy in Gouache using Zorn Palette, 10x7 inches
Stacy D from Sktchy in Gouache using Zorn Palette, 10×7 inches

I dramatically changed the setting of this portrait from a graffiti-covered wall (photo at bottom) to a library. There was something about her expression and clothing that made me think judgmental librarian, not the hip artist she appears to be in her photo feed on Sktchy. (Not that librarians can’t be hip artists! I was thinking of the mean school librarian who was always shushing us and glaring if we giggled.)

This was the last lesson in Mike Creighton’s Sktchy class on gouache portrait painting and color mixing. This lesson was about the Zorn palette: white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light and black. I’m really enjoying playing with limited palettes and discovering all the varieties of color possible with them.

In my initial sketch below, I hadn’t decided on the background yet.

Stacy D. from Sktchy, initial sketch on Xerox paper
Stacy D. from Sktchy, initial sketch on Xerox paper

When I decided to change the background from the wall in the reference photo below, to a library I did a quick internet search and found the photo below, right, which I used as inspiration.

Reference photo of Stacy D from Sktchy
Reference photo of Stacy D from Sktchy
Internet photo for library photo reference
Internet photo for library photo reference