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

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

Sketching People on the iPad Pro

Lady in Red (from Sktchy)

While my backyard and the entrance to my studio were inaccessible due to construction I did more drawing and painting on my iPad than on canvas. The 12.9″ iPad is just the right size for me and the Apple Pencil makes it just like drawing with a great pencil or pen except so much easier to erase or start over without fear of “wasting” paper. Here are a few of those sketches from TV and photos.

 

 

From Veggie Porn to Bad Begonias

Veggie Porn, oil on Gessobord panel, 8x8"

Veggie Porn, oil on Gessobord panel, 8×8″

I’ve developed the goofy habit of storing my leftover cucumber in the bell pepper half when I prepare a salad. It always makes me laugh so I decided to paint it. My sister called it veggie porn. I hope it makes you chuckle too.

I’m trying out a new format for my blog posts, a simple list with images of what I’ve been working on, successes, challenges and what else is going on in the studio and my life. Theoretically it will mean less writing and more frequent posting. So here goes…let me know what you think.

CHALLENGES: I’ve been struggling with composition, discovering half way through a painting that the composition sucks and the painting will never be an enjoyable thing to look at.

SUCCESSES: I finally got the willingness to begin all paintings with some thumbnail sketches. I realized that COMPOSITION is simply the structure that directs the eye around the painting, creates a feeling of action or stillness and (if done well) delights the eye. Two of my favorite painters, Susan Jane Walp and Giorgio Morandi use composition in unexpected ways, and both delight the eye (or at least my eyes) whether they are following or breaking the “rules” of composition or making their own.

LETTING GO OF A BAD PAINTING: This one started off really happily but ended up in the trash, after scraping and redoing it over and over until I killed it so dead it couldn’t be revived. I just felt there was too much red, that it was too “hot” somehow. A friend suggested adding black. That was the final nail in the coffin. I’m not sure why I’m even sharing it at all.

FAIL: Bad Begonias, oil on panel, 10x8"

FAIL: Bad Begonias, oil on panel, 10×8″

SKETCHES: I try to do a sketch from the SKTCHY App at least weekly. Here is a recent one.

Isabel T, from Sktchy photo reference, graphite, 12x9"

Isabel T, from Sktchy photo reference, graphite, 12×9″

WHAT I’M READING: “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.” Great book about how our devices and apps are designed to keep us using them. I waste way too much time web-surfing on my phone. This book gave me some tools for changing my habits along with a good talking to! I think it’s a must-read for parents especially.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys on Amazon music, which I like much better than Apple music. (If you’re interested, here’s a link to  Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial)

Bits and Pieces (while falling to pieces with a cold)

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Sunflower and Pomegranate Studies, oil, 5×10″

After I did these two studies on one piece of Arches Oil Paper focusing on values (started with transparent earth color underpainting), I caught a nasty head cold. I feel super lousy and haven’t had the energy to paint but I’ve done a couple sketches, below.

Pomegranate and persimmons on a brick. 2B pencil in 8x10 moleskine.

Pomegranate and persimmons on a brick. 2B pencil in 8×10 moleskine.

Drawing helped take my mind off my sneezing and nose running like a river.

FarhooD S via Sktchy app. graphite, 11x8

FarhooD S via Sktchy app. graphite, 11×8″

I think I made his hand too small. Here’s his photo on Sktchy:

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