Categories
Art Faces Painting People Portrait Watercolor

Portrait in Pink Poodles and Blue

Portrait of Asian woman surrounded by pink poodles, in watercolor.
Pink Poodles and Portrait, Watercolor 9×7”

By the time I was done with the drawing for this painting I was really bored of the subject and couldn’t motivate myself to paint it until the idea of pink poodles prancing on the page popped up.

Those pink poodles reminded me of how much fun I used to have drawing and painting anything that amused me, back in 2006 when I started this blog as a daily sketch journal 17 years ago.

From my crazy dreams to local dive bars to what was in my fridge, it was always fun. I’m doing that kind of sketching again, and will be posting them soon. Meanwhile, back to this silly portrait.

I was super tired the day I painted it and couldn’t come up with an interesting limited palette so I challenged myself with just two colors: WN Permanent Rose and Winsor Blue Green Shade. It wasn’t a great combination for a portrait but it was perfect for pink poodles.

I had a hard time getting an accurate scan of the painting which has a bit more turquoise color in the background and a little warmer color pink on the poodles and her skin. But even the correct colors are still pretty weird.

Sketches, Corrections and Reference Photo

You can click on the image above to see an enlarged version of the preliminary sketches, the corrections needed and the reference photo.

Categories
Art Drawing People Portrait Sktchy Watercolor

Handsome Artist as Grumpy Guy (Zorn Palette)

Watercolor portrait of Richard B.
Richard B, watercolor, 10×7.5” Zorn Limited Palette

When I saw the reference photo of fantastic artist Richard Banks in a Sktchy watercolor class, I wasn’t immediately inspired but decided to give it a try anyway. Maybe because I had nothing invested in the outcome, just in the learning process, I ended up liking the painting for what it is.

Sketch #2 (Left) and Sketch #1 (Right)

My first attempt at drawing him was pretty far off so I didn’t try to correct it, I just started over. I was satisfied with the second attempt above.

Zorn Palette + Thalo Blue Green Shade for background

Even though his photo was mostly cool colors, I decided to try to use the Zorn Palette and see if I could make it work. The pigments I used were WN Ivory Black, Utrecht Cadmium Red Light, Holbein Yellow Ochre.

I did cheat slightly and did a preliminary very light wash of Winsor Blue/Green Shade over the whole sheet of paper. Typically with the Zorn palette, the black is used as a blue but this Ivory Black seemed way too warm for it to work.

Reference photo
Categories
Art Drawing Faces Painting People Watercolor

Dorothy of Oz: All Grown Up?

Watercolor painting of Dorothy from the Wizard Oz, as an adult, from a photo of a woman at a county fair
Dorothy of Oz, Watercolor on paper, 9”x6.5”

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.

Photo reference by Earthsworld, posted with permission

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.

Cartoon of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz as a grown up, smoking a cigarette
Cartoon by WadeHate, posted with permission

It was too perfect, another image of Dorothy all grown up. He was kind enough to give me permission to share this artwork.

Experiments with background color in Procreate.
Bottom left was original before painting background.

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).

Finished painting except for background.
Also, the limited palette of W&N watercolors notated:
Raw Sienna, Permanent Alizarin, Winsor Blue Green Shade

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.

Painting in Progress, Final Sketch, Sketch check for accuracy in Procreate

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).

Categories
Art Oil Painting Painting People Portrait Watercolor

Sadie and the Swim Trophy

Sadie and the swim trophy, watercolor
Sadie and the 2021 Swim Trophy, watercolor, 10”x7.5”

My granddaughter Sadie loves to swim (and play soccer, basketball and read books, too). At the end of the season, after winning many races and awards, to fundraise for her team she swims lap after lap and people pledge $ per lap.

Reference photo

Trying to paint Sadie from this photo led to me giving up on oils and going back to watercolor. As was my way with oils, I tried repeatedly, persistently (obsessively?) but couldn’t make it work. This watercolor isn’t perfect, but it captures the joy of the moment and that makes me happy.

Failed oil paintings
Abandoned Oil Paintings, 9×12”
L-R: Start of painting #2; unfinished painting #2; unfinished painting #1

With watercolor I’m able to paint to a certain point and then happily call it done. Watercolor doesn’t allow you to keep fiddling forever like oil does.

Final drawing for the portrait painting
Final drawing for the painting (after many corrections)

I again used a limited palette because it’s fun to see what I can do with only 3 colors. This time it was DS Hansa Yellow Medium, WN Permanent Alizarin and WN Cobalt Blue.

Limited palette color wheel of primary triad
Test of Limited Palette Primary Triad using DS Hansa Yellow Medium, WN Cobalt Blue and Alizarin Permanent

I used to think it was really weird that artists limited their palettes. I thought one needed every possible color in order to capture color exactly. But now I prefer the harmony a limited palette provides and don’t really care about capturing exactly the colors in real life. I’m not trying to be a photocopier.

Categories
Art Ink and watercolor wash Painting Watercolor

Bee, Bird, Butterfly Birthday

Madeleine’s Birthday Painting, ink & watercolor, 6×4”

I went through quite a process making little birthday paintings for my granddaughters whose birthdays are two years and one week apart. I think of Madeleine as a little butterfly, always happy and amused. Strong but delicate.

Sketch for painting 11×8.5”

First I looked at reference photos of the different critters and flowers, then sketched them as if I was doing scientific illustration. I transferred my sketch to watercolor paper and painted it. Then I realized it was a terrible composition.

So I started over, deciding that they didn’t need to be scientifically correct. I let my whimsical side come out, recomposed and redrew and painted it again. This time I was happy. I hope she will like it!