Categories
Art Oil Painting Watercolor

Farewell Oil Painting; Hello Watercolor, My Old Friend

Strawberries, Cheerios and Milk, 20×21″, watercolor 2013

The watercolor paintings in this post are from 10-20 years ago. I haven’t been posting new work for several months because I got stuck working on one oil painting portrait. I struggled with it, overworking, reworking, starting over, rinse and repeat. There’s something about being able to endlessly work on an oil painting that triggers my perfectionism, and not in a good way.

Pink Rose, 2003, Watercolor, 16×12″

Watercolor and gouache have natural stopping points. You have to pause to let the paint and paper dry. You can’t keep painting layer on layer endlessly or you have a muddy mess. You either call it done or you start over.

Sister City Parade, Watercolor, 22×30″, 2001
(An actual parade going down the street in my neighborhood
when I was moving in 22 years ago)

I also became sensitive to solvents. I stopped using Gamsol while painting but even the smell of drying oil paint without solvents made me feel icky. Just using a little Gamsol for brush and palette cleaning left me with the taste of metal in my mouth and a headache, both signs of chemical sensitivity. I already have funky lungs so that was it. Bye-bye oils.

Ruth Bancroft Gardens Old Barn, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
Ruth Bancroft Gardens Old Barn, ink & watercolor, 5×8″ 2013, SOLD

I’ve always preferred the look of watercolors to oil paintings anyway. In fact the only paintings I have hanging in my home are watercolors. I thought I would go through a grieving period but it’s been a couple months and I’ve felt only relief and excitement.

Sleeping Neighbor, Watercolor 30×22″, 2009, SOLD

I have thousands of dollars worth of oil paint, oil brushes, canvases, panels and oil paper that I will sell at some point. In the meantime, I’m finding it thrilling to watch water and color flow on paper again.

Sold. Michelle’s Rose, Watercolor, 2015 (SOLD)
(Painted as a demo in a watercolor class I was teaching)
Categories
Art Faces Gouache People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy Watercolor

Is She Sleepy, Bored or Annoyed?

Sleepy Asian Girl, Gouache on paper, 10 x 7 inches
Sleepy Asian Girl, Gouache on paper, 10 x 7 inches

This was one of those rare and wonderful painting experiences where the sketch (below) came together by magic, and I liked it enough to not even check it against the reference photo for accuracy. I didn’t care if it was perfect. The painting just flowed and it was super fun to see and paint all the different colors and textures.

Sleepy Asian Girl Sketch, 10x8 inches, graphite on Xerox paper
Sleepy Asian Girl Sketch, 10×8 inches, graphite on Xerox paper

I kept pondering her story while I worked on the portrait. I had all kinds of ideas but settled on a bone-tired factory or sewing shop worker. Then I did a Google image search of the reference photo (below), which was supplied by a Sktchy artist for her class demo and for us to paint from.

Reference photo

The image search took me down a looooong rabbit hole that led to a match for the photo. It turns out the model is a Japanese artist named Serena Motola. Maybe she was just bored and annoyed to be modeling when she wanted to be painting?

Categories
Art Digital art Drawing facebook people Faces Portrait Procreate on iPad Series Watercolor

Guys with Hats: People Facebook Thinks I Should Know #1 and #2

Facebook "People You May Know #1", Procreate digital painting
Facebook “People You May Know #1”, Procreate digital painting

Every time I open Facebook it shows me photos of random people it thinks I might want to know. Many of them are in curious settings or have interesting faces so I’ve started saving them to paint or draw. Above is the first one, done in Procreate on the iPad, where I tried to simulate an oil painting digitally.

Since I don’t have permission to use their photos I won’t post them here but it will be fun to see if anyone recognizes themselves or their friends, given the small world we live in now.

Facebook "People You May Know #2", watercolor, 7x7 inches
Facebook “People You May Know #2”, watercolor, 7×7 inches

I tried painting with watercolor (above) over the graphite sketch below in a Stonehenge square sketchbook. I discovered that I am very rusty with my watercolors and this sketchbook is apparently NOT watercolor paper, so this is kind of a mess. But an interesting mess.

Facebook "People You May Know #2", graphite, 7x7 inches
Facebook “People You May Know #2”, graphite, 7×7 inches

I realized I need lots more drawing practice, after trying to paint a life-size three-person portrait in oils over several months and failing again and again. I put the project and the four failed canvases in the closet to try again another day after I improve my portrait drawing skills.

Categories
Faces People Portrait Sketchbook Pages Sktchy Watercolor

More Sketchy Sktchy Portraits

Nyla Rose, Watercolor
Nyla Rose, Watercolor

Sketching from Sktchy App photos (I explained it here) is a great warmup exercise and opportunity to practice drawing a wide variety of faces and expressions. Each week they offer a Weekend Art Exploration (#WAX) challenge and 3 of the drawings marked in the collage below were for WAX. All are in a 12×9″ sketchbook.

PicMonkey_Collage_20160312
Collage of sketches and inspiration photos from Sktchy. (Click on image two times to enlarge.)

The challenge marked in the top row was to draw on text; mine is on a page of “Secrets of the Flesh: The Life of Collette.” The challenge in row two was to show your tools used to create the art so I put my colored pencils in front of “Crazy Eyes,” as she titled her photo. The bottom row challenge was to use the magic of art to transform a photo into something else (I combined Tweety Bird with the girl making a bird face). The last sketch above is from a photo I uploaded for others to draw. I did a better job on Millie than me.

Below are larger versions of a few from this batch (click to see larger):

This weekend the challenge is to draw from the same photo twice, once with each hand. Wish me luck! I don’t think my left hand knows how to do anything except type.

Categories
Flower Art Sketchbook Pages Still Life Watercolor

Busby’s Orchid in Sadie’s Footprint Pot

Orchid for Busby in Sadie Footprint Pot, graphite and watercolor, 11x7 in
Orchid for Busby in Sadie Footprint Pot, graphite and watercolor, 11×7 in

For Mothers’ Day my daughter-in-law Brittney gave me this adorable flower-pot that she and her mom decorated with my grandbaby Sadie’s footprints (dipped in paint) as the wings of a butterfly. Then last week a florist delivered a beautiful double orchid plant to me from my veterinarian in memory of my kitty Busby who, sadly, had died the previous week.

The orchids were a perfect match for the Mothers’ Day pot and combining the two helped ease my mind and lift my spirits. I see the orchid and feel sad for Busby and then see the pot and feel happy about little Sadie. It was fun and challenging to draw while trying to keep track of which flower and bud were which.