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Art Art theory Drawing Gouache Painting People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Alexander’s Analogous Bathroom Selfie in Lavender

Alexander H from his bathroom selfie on Sktchy, 8x8" on watercolor paper
Alexander H from his bathroom selfie on Sktchy, 9×8″ on watercolor paper

Analogous colors sit beside each other on the color wheel. For this gouache experiment with analogous colors, I chose Dioxazine Purple, Quinacridone Magenta, and Pyrole Red; basically a violet, a red-violet and a red. Plus white of course. My favorite gouache paints are M. Graham, especially their white, which is so wonderfully creamy.

Normally when I paint I try to match the colors I see, so painting with arbitrary colors is a very different approach for me, one that requires focusing more on value and warm/cool relationships. There was no way I’d get “normal” skin colors with this combo of colors. Below is my original sketch on Xerox paper which I then transferred to watercolor paper.

Initial sketch
Initial sketch

One funny thing about this Sktchy gouache class is that the teacher seems to pick reference photos of people I never would have chosen. The photo reference for this lesson: a guy seemingly looking in his bathroom mirror when he woke up in the morning. It didn’t inspire me, but maybe the combination of a non-interesting photo and the experiment with color took the pressure off so I could just play. I had so much fun with this one!

Photo reference from Sktchy
Photo reference from Sktchy
Categories
Art Gouache Portrait

A Beauty and a Gloomy Gouache

Olivia McRae in gouache, 10×8 inches

I had so much fun with the painting above and was really happy how it turned out. I’m (slowly) working my way through the Sktchy “30 Faces in 30 Days” gouache and watercolor class, though at the rate I’m going it’s probably going to take me 300 days, not 30 to finish it.

For the painting above, I followed along with Cecile Yadro’s demo. Her style felt very congruent to the way I like to work. You can see the reference photo for this painting on Sktchy here and download Cecile’s free gouache ebook here.

Although it wasn’t mentioned in her lesson, I was especially happy about how I was able to maintain the (high key) value structure while varying the colors and color temperatures within her face, something that clicked for me for the first time.

On the other hand, the next lesson was by Russian artist Nicolai Gánichev and his approach, techniques and final painting didn’t appeal to me at all (see his painting below).

Painting by Nicolai Gánichev 
Photo Reference from lesson

There seems to be a trend in contemporary art of destructing portraits, smearing paint across the subjects face or wiping off their eyes or mouth. Are the artists just bored with their facility in making portraits and have to show their contempt for skill or for the subject? I don’t get it. Also, the reference photo seemed dark and gloomy to me. I tried it anyway.

My sketch
First painting attempt, ugly and gloomy

I sketched her on Xerox paper and then transferred the drawing to watercolor paper. I tried following along with Nicolai but disliked his process so went off on my own. I ended up hating my first painting (above) so I transferred the drawing again, lightened the photo and discovered she actually might have red hair. I wasn’t having fun so I gave up after the second attempt below and moved on.

My final, still unpleasant, attempt at painting her

Categories
Art Gouache Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Trying Gouache Again

Gouache portrait, 10×8 inches on Arches CP Watercolor paper

I’ve studied gouache before as in this post with color charts and several other times over the years. This month I’ve been participating in the “Sktchy 30 Faces in 30 Days – Gouache and Watercolor” challenge with a different artist demonstrating their way of painting a portrait in either watercolor or gouache each day.

The first gouache demo was presented by Jordan M. Rhodes (@jmr_art on Instagram) who I’ve been following on IG for a long time. I tried to paint along with him but kept on struggling. I ended up taking much longer, painting multiple layers until I was able complete it with some degree of satisfaction. And of course it took me several hours just to get the drawing right-ish first.

My preliminary drawing
Reference photo

I had hoped that doing this 30 day challenge would force me to work faster, but nope. It wasn’t until I got to the next gouache class that I picked up the insights that have given me much more confidence and better skills, which I’ll write about when I share the next portrait.

Categories
Art Faces Oil Painting People Portrait

Emi

Emi, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 10 x 7.5"
Emi, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 10 x 7.5″

This commissioned portrait of a darling little girl was really fun to paint but had some challenges, like trying to invent the pajamas hidden by the highchair straps. It took several drawings (including one of a baby skull I found on Google) before I was ready to move ahead with the painting as you can see in the process steps below.

Emi’s face was actually easier to paint than the pajamas, and I was tempted to keep working on them, probably forever, but the friend who commissioned the painting was happy with it as is, so I am too.

Below is some of the work in progress steps. Please note that the lighting changed the colors in some of the photos.

Categories
Art Digital art Drawing Faces Oil Painting People Portrait Sktchy

Three Portraits of Dayris

Portrait of Dayris, Oil on Arches Oil Paper, 10"x8.5"
Portrait of Dayris, Oil on Arches Oil Paper, 10″x8.5″

I’ve had so much fun painting and sketching the lovely Dayris from Sktchy in oil (above), and before that, in pencil and then doing a digital sketch in Procreate (below). Also below you’ll find a slide show of the work in progress. Doing the two initial drawings really helped me quickly get a pretty accurate drawing for the oil painting. You can see her reference photo on Sktchy here.

Initial pencil drawing of Dayris, 12x9"
Initial pencil drawing of Dayris, 12×9″
Digital Sketch of Dayris in Procreate
Digital Sketch of Dayris in Procreate

Below are the steps in the process of making the portrait.

  • Initial pencil drawing of Dayris, 12x9"
  • Digital Sketch of Dayris in Procreate
  • Umber underpainting
  • Some background and shirt
  • Some paint on face
  • Icky background in with palette knife
  • More work on background, still icky
  • Background better but not happy with shirt or hair
  • Almost done
  • Scraped off shirt and some hair to redo
  • Portrait of Dayris, Oil on Arches Oil Paper, 10"x8.5"