Semi-Fail Flower Sketch

Stolen Vine, Gouache on watercolor paper, 11x8.5 inches
Stolen Vine, Gouache on watercolor paper, 11×8.5 inches

I painted this sketch from life in gouache from a piece of a vine I ripped off a neighbor’s fence (they’ve moved and the house is being sold so nobody cares). I started with the flowers, which was a good thing because they shriveled quickly.

I don’t know why I feel compelled to post things that weren’t successful but I guess I appreciate seeing other people’s fails, so why not. I was happy with my drawing but just couldn’t get the gouache to work the way I wanted and the pitcher got really muddy and icky colored. At least I got the drawing pretty close to reality. Below is a photo of the setup.

Photo of the setup

Cool Portrait in Gouache

Gouache sketch of "Ms. Red Rose" from Sktchy App
Gouache sketch from Sktchy photo of Ms. Red Rose, 10×8 inches

I had to make myself stop or I would have worked on this one forever because the colors and expression in the Sktchy photo were so fascinating (and challenging) and fun! I again tried to focus on painting the planes of the face using mostly cool colors with some warm colors to help create dimension. The lighting really helped show the underlying structure of her face.

Warm Portrait in Gouache

Sketch of Olivia A. from Sktchy in gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media Journal, 8.5” x 11” .
Olivia A. from Sktchy in gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media Journal, 8.5 x 11 inches

I was really happy with the way this gouache portrait of Olivia A. from her photo in the Sktchy app turned out. I focused on putting down patches or tiles of color, based on what I was seeing but also considering color temperature and facial landmarks. It also helped that for once did a good job on the drawing first.

Sometimes I study and study and have lots of book learning and every now and then, if I’m really lucky and persistent, it pours out of the end of my pencil or paint brush like magic and I actually meet your goals for a piece.

Sktchy People Sketches

Sketch of artist Makenna Snyder from her photo on Sktchy app in Procreate
Sketch of artist Makenna Snyder from her photo on Sktchy app in Procreate

I wasn’t sure which version of the very pretty artist Makenna Snyder I liked best, but I think it’s monochrome version above rather than the colored version below.

When I was looking for new glasses two years ago I tried on a frame like hers and thought it was a frumpy, old-fashioned look, having seen the style the first time around several decades ago. But eventually I’ve come to see them as attractive and stylish. Now that I like them it means they’ll probably be going out of style very soon.

Sketch of artist Makenna Snyder drawn and colored in Procreate
Sketch of artist Makenna Snyder drawn and colored in Procreate

Below is a sketch of Tomas from Sketchy. There was something rather ominous about his bathroom selfie. I’m not sure why someone would take a photo of themselves half naked in the bathroom and post it for people to draw but I’m glad he did.

Sketch of Tomas from Sktchy in Procreate on iPad
Sketch of Tomas from Sktchy in Procreate on iPad

Testing Acryla Gouache with Figs and Daffodils

Last figs before pruning, gouache in journal
Last figs before pruning, gouache in journal

I tested the Holbein Acryla Gouache Mixing Set with the last figs from my tree before it got pruned for the winter. Working with the Acryla Gouache seems less like gouache and more like a somewhat more opaque, matte acrylic paint. I’ve been told it works well for underpainting under regular gouache or even oil paints. You can also use acryla gouache over regular gouache to correct problems, which I tried in the painting below.

Daffodils in gouache and acrylic gouache, 8.5” x 11.5” on hot press paper
Daffodils in gouache and acrylic gouache, 8.5” x 11.5” on hot press paper

I painted these daffodils in gouache on hot press paper (which I don’t think works well for gouache…not sure yet). Then I added acrylic gouache over the top to try to fix the mess I made because I had been lazy with drawing the ellipses on the glass…got a little over confident and thought I could just whip them out. But I couldn’t, hence massive corrections and then just giving up.

It’s so simple: get the drawing right first!

Gouache Self Portrait and Sktchy Portrait

Gouache selfie sketch in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 11 inches
Gouache selfie sketch in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 11 inches

It cracks me up how selfies end up making noses even more prominent than in real life, including the one above of me. I’m still finding my way with gouache but enjoying the immediacy of it and the easy clean up. It doesn’t allow for reworking forever the way oil painting does, which is helping me to focus more on getting it as close to right as I can with each brush stroke and color mixture.

Below is a gouache sketch from a photo in the Sktchy app of Farah W.’s mother.

Gouache painting of Farah W.’s mom from Sktchy in 8.5 x 11 inches
Gouache painting of Farah W.’s mom from Sktchy in 8.5 x 11 inches

Gouache Painting Practice

Apple Still life in gouache on Stonehenge Kraft colored paper, 10 x 12 inches
Apple Still life in gouache on Stonehenge Kraft colored paper, 10 x 12 inches

Gouache is a water-based paint similar to watercolor in some ways, but opaque and more like oil paint in other ways. Like any art form, it takes practice to build knowledge and experience and eventually be able to just paint. I was pretty happy with the painting above, done from life.

The paintings below were earlier experiments.

My New Kitchen, gouache on Arches watercolor paper, 12 x 9 inches
My New Kitchen, gouache on Arches watercolor paper, 12 x 9 inches

I made an attempt to paint my tiny but comfy galley kitchen in response to James Gurney’s “Paint A Kitchen” challenge. My kitchen is so small I had to set up my easel in the pantry and look through a doorway. The colors are really weird, thanks to being completely unfamiliar with gouache.

Onions, garlic and shallot. Gouache sketch in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 8.5 inches
Onions, garlic and shallot. Gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media journal, 8.5 x 8.5 inches

I thought the onions and shallots were pretty and wanted to try painting them but had lots of problems with getting chalky colors and trying to paint too many layers until the paint got too thick and yucky.

Fruity Still life, Gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media Journal, 8.5 x 11 inches
Fruity Still life, Gouache in Strathmore Mixed Media Journal, 8.5 x 11 inches

More gouache practice, trying to get the hang of the medium. It seems like the Strathmore Mixed Media Journal maybe isn’t the best paper for gouache if it’s going to be layered as it is a little too thin and smooth.

%d bloggers like this: