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.

Bunny Girl 3 Ways: Gouache, Pencil and Digital

Painting of Hildur and her bunny from in gouache, 8.5 x 11”.
Painting of Hildur and her bunny from in gouache, 8.5 x 11”.

I drew and painted Hildur from Sktchy App with her bunny three different ways. First I sketched her in pencil on paper then painted her in gouache and then did a digital rendition in Procreate. Which do you like better?

Hildur and her bunny, graphite on paper 8.5 x 11 inches
Hildur and her bunny, graphite on paper 8.5 x 11 inches
Hildur and her bunny, Procreate on iPad
Hildur and her bunny, Procreate on iPad

I was simplifying shapes in Procreate and decided to leave off her facial features.

Ay Chihuahua! Creating Color from Black and White

Chihuahua: Make color from B&W: Gouache, 8x10"

Chihuahua: Make color from B&W: Gouache, 8×10″

When the Sktchy (see previous post) Weekend Art Extravaganza inspiration was to make a color sketch from a black and white photo I found the photo below and couldn’t resist putting a little color in this little guy’s life. I used to make fun of Chihuahuas, comparing them to rats (which can also actually make good pets if you don’t mind the smell). But after a couple of friends adopted chihuahua mixes, I have come to really appreciate their funny and quirky personalities.

B&W Photo Reference

B&W Photo Reference

Some Sketchy Sktchy Fun

Candlelight, Gouache portrait for Sktchy, 10x8"

Candlelight, Gouache portrait for Sktchy, 10×8″

I so enjoy the Sktchy App where people post their photos, artists post their sketches of the photos and everybody is so positive and encouraging. Each weekend Sktchy hosts a Weekend Art Extravaganza or “WAX,” which is a cue or art concept to inspire artists to apply to their sketches. Last weekend it was “Candlelight.” I found the inspiring photo below on Sktchy and used it for this painting.

Photo reference for candlelight

Photo reference for candlelight

Do join in on Sktchy if you have an iPhone and want practice drawing people (and their pets and home/cities) from all over the world, all ages, all lifestyles. It’s so much fun!

Gouache Still Life Studies

Gouache still life studies, 10x8 inches

Gouache still life studies, 10×8 inches

These were gouache sketches from a couple of months ago that I’m just now getting around to posting. I’m still loving gouache but have been missing using it.

I’m working on two commissioned dog portraits in oils so have put aside most of my other art projects temporarily. I’m enjoying the difficult challenge of painting two very similar dogs with dark brindle fur for two different owners but I’m missing taking the time to draw my daily dream images, play with gouache and work on painting people portraits.

Portrait of Richard for Julia Kay’s Portrait Party

Richard for JKPP, Gouache, 7.5x6 inches

Richard for JKPP, Gouache, 7.5×6 inches

I really tried to focus on two things with this portrait, getting the drawing right and keeping the gouache colors light (gouache dries darker). For once I managed to keep a tilted head tilted in my drawing–for some reason my brain always wants to make everything upright and symmetrical. It doesn’t surprise me since I learned that the image that comes in from our eyes is upside down and it’s our brains that convert it to right-side up. My brain definitely has a mind of its own…oh wait a minute–it is my mind!

Below is the original pencil drawing over which I painted the gouache. I wish I could show you the photo I worked from, but I think those are only meant to be visible to members of Julia Kay’s Portrait Party, which you can apply to join on Flickr and play too, if you want to.

Richard for JKPP, Graphite, 7.5x6 inches

Richard for JKPP, Graphite, 7.5×6 inches

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