I signed up for a Sktchy Watercolor class to see what I could learn from their teachers. I planned to make myself try the teachers’ different approaches and I did attempt the super loose, wet in wet approach Dritan Duro, the teacher for this class demonstrated, but tossed the crappy results and started over, doing things my way.
Interestingly, the 3-color limited palette I used for this painting was the same as the one I used for my painting of Dorothy, even though the two women look nothing alike. It’s a fun challenge to work with only a 3-color limited palette. (WN Raw Sienna, WN Perm. Alizarin, Winsor Blue Green Shade).
Above is my final sketch and below is my preliminary sketch, scanned into Procreate, with a tracing of the photo over it. I used it to check my drawing and then made the corrections to the final sketch above.
My first thought was, “Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, all grown up,” and, as the saying goes, “rode hard and put away wet” when I saw the photo (below) on photographer Earthsworld’s Instagram.
My second thought was “I must paint her!” I contacted Earth (his real name) and he gave me permission to paint from and share his photo. Then, while the painting was in progress I came across the cartoon below on Instagram by artist WadeHate.
It was too perfect, another image of Dorothy all grown up. He was kind enough to give me permission to share this artwork.
The original photograph had a background I didn’t want so I experimented in Procreate with different backgrounds. I probably should have just left the background white (below).
The deep orange I chose didn’t please me so I tried washing it off. That left an “interesting” peachy color and a paper surface that was not going to respond well to more paint layers. So, peachy pink is how it shall remain.
When I checked my initial sketch I was delighted to see how close I got on my first try, and how few corrections were needed (above). It’s so nice to see progress, whether it’s in drawing or painting or both. This painting also went really well (except the background).
I recently spent a couple weeks working through a Proportions and Rhythms of the Head portrait drawing class created by Bradwynn Jones. I watched him do the demo drawings (mostly while working out on my rower) and then sketched them myself. When I finished all the drawings I transferred them to watercolor paper and started painting them. This is the first one I painted.
I took an immediate dislike to this model. She was pretty but mean-girl looking to me. I decided to experiment with a triad of colors on her that turned out to be equally unpleasant.
Cobalt Violet has very low tinting strength and just sits on top of the paper, so it came right off if I tried to glaze over it. It is both opaque and granulating, causing an unpleasant texture for skin.
The QOR Nickle Azo Yellow also had low tinting strength and when mixed with the violet made a yucky brownish color for shadows. The QOR Paynes Grey combined with the yellow made a gross greenish-gold of her hair.
I didn’t really care because, like I said, take that, mean girl!
Also, Payne’s Grey; I’ve never understood why people use it. Most brands make it from black and ultramarine blue and sometimes a bit of violet. I guess it’s a convenience color, but one that would be so easy to make, though I prefer not to use black paint in watercolor.
Do you use Payne’s Grey? If you do please tell me why and which brand you like.
While I drew and painted her I thought of her as one of the Quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, women who were direct descendants of the enslaved people who worked the cotton plantation there. I saw a traveling show of their quilts at a local museum years ago.
I painted this after watching master Korean watercolor artist J Hunsung paint her on YouTube here where you can also see his finished version. He doesn’t credit the photographer or model for this reference photo, which I also used for my painting.
It took three attempts to get the sketch right. I’m learning to take my time and get everything sketched in. And if things don’t quite fit together, fix it, don’t pretend it will be ok as is. Looking at my sketch compared to the reference photo below, I can see I still didn’t get it perfectly, but it felt close enough to go for it.
I was so pleased with these perfect flat washes in my initial block in that I had to share them. In watercolor, getting a flawless flat wash is not easy.
With each watercolor painting, I’m experimenting with a different limited palette and then adding strokes of the colors used at the bottom of the painting. For this one I used Daniel Smith Quinacridone Gold, Winsor Newton Perylene Magenta, Daniel Smith Indanthrone Blue and a guest appearance in the jewelry only of Daniel Smith Perylene Scarlet. (I know it says DS Perylene on the painting but that’s a mistake.)
I’m enjoying using fresh from the tube paint in a little porcelain palette instead of the ancient dried up old palette I had been using.
After watching a Sktchy watercolor demo by Alison Pinto, I tried my hand at drawing (see below) and painting this sweet face. I want to assemble a good palette for watercolor portraits, so tried Alison’s interesting palette (see bottom of post for pigments and reference photos). So far I know I do not like Burnt Sienna in portraits.
I was a little happy with this painting until I realized I’d given her googly eyes and started trying to “fix” the painting, which with watercolor translates to “wreck” the painting. Oh well. This is a scan I made before I started “fixing.”
Pigments: : Winsor Lemon, Indian yellow, Permanent Rose, Holbein Opera, Burnt Sienna, Winsor Violet and Winsor Green Blue Shad