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Faces Gouache People Portrait

Julia Kay’s Portrait Party: Portrait in Gouache

Portrait of Jan Jaap for Julia Kaye's Portrait Party, gouache in XL WC Moleskine, 9x6.5"
Portrait for Julia Kaye’s Portrait Party, gouache in XL WC Moleskine, 9×6.5″

When I learned that Julia Kay’s Portrait Party (Facebook) (Flickr) was coming to SF in March for a weekend of live portrait party events I signed up. My goal for 2015 is to develop my portrait drawing and painting skills and this seemed a perfect way to get started, along with the excellent 4-hour figure/portrait drawing/painting class I’m taking at my local community college.

Since I’ve been experimenting and teaching myself to paint with  gouache (more about that soon, with reviews of paint and brushes for gouache). I thought it would be a perfect medium for my first Portrait Party attempt. One thing that I know about gouache but am not yet accustomed to, is that it dries significantly darker than it looks on the palette (unlike watercolor which dries lighter). That explains the very vibrant tones in the portrait above compared to the original photo (which I don’t have permission to post here)! Below is the original sketch that I painted over in my X-large Watercolor Moleskine.

Sketch of Jan Jaap for Julia Kaye's Portrait Party, graphite, 9x6.5"
Sketch of Jan Jaap for Julia Kaye’s Portrait Party, graphite, 9×6.5″
Categories
Faces Flower Art Gardening Ink and watercolor wash Outdoors/Landscape Plants Rose Self Portrait Sketchbook Pages

Spring Things and not so Spring-y Things (Self-Portrait)

Figgie 2014, ink and watercolor, 8x5.5 in
Figgie 2014, ink and watercolor, 8×5.5 in

This little fig tree has survived so much: being transplanted, then a killer frost, and then transplanting again after sewer line work. As soon as leaves sprouted this year so did two figs. Sadly the crows or squirrels (or the toddler next door?) took them before I could even post this.

Little Rose Studies, ink and watercolor, 7.5x5.5 in
Little Rose Studies, ink and watercolor, 7.5×5.5 in

I sat in the driveway and quickly sketched some roses but had to stop when the shadow of the house took away the light.

End of Journal Self-Portrait, graphite, 5x7.5 in
End of Journal Self-Portrait, graphite, 5×7.5 in

And then there’s my not so spring-y self, frowning into the mirror, with hat-head and something wrong with the mouth. And yes, it’s intentionally buried at the bottom of this post. It feels good to be drawing again, after what seems like months away from it. It’s also a little frustrating feeling rusty at it. But the only fix for that is more drawing!

Categories
Faces Ink and watercolor wash Oil Painting Painting People Self Portrait Sketchbook Pages

End of Journal Self Portraits

Self Portrait, Oil on panel, 6x6"
Self Portrait, Oil on panel, 6×6″

I wasn’t satisfied with the two ink and watercolor end-of-journal self-portraits (below) that completed the 8×10″ Moleskine I was working in back in June. Rose Frantzen had told me during my workshop with her that I had wonderful skin to paint and should be doing lots of self-portraits from life in oil. So I decided to give it a try.

I only had couple of hours left in the day for painting so chose a small 6×6″ panel that already had a dark background from wiping off a previous failed painting. I turned off most of the lights in the studio except for one pointing at my face from the left and one overhead light behind me. I clamped a mirror to the easel and started painting. What a surprise: after a couple of hours I’d made my most favorite self-portrait ever.

I know it’s not perfect but I don’t think it calls for perfecting; it’s just a moment in time and a record of a very enjoyable but short painting session.

Below are the two in my sketchbook. I was in a really grumpy mood and struggling with the drawing on the first one and it shows (below):

Grumpy Strained Self-Portrait, ink & watercolor, 10x8"
Grumpy Strained Self-Portrait, ink & watercolor, 10×8″

A few days later I tried again:

Self-Portrait with Birthday Bouquet
Self-Portrait with Birthday Bouquet, ink & watercolor, 10×8″

I was in a much better mood. I put my birthday bouquet on the table between me and the mirror and started drawing. It was confusing trying to combine what was real and what was mirror image. It’s a dorky drawing of me but I like the flowers.

Isn’t it amazing how emotions and mood show in a drawing or painting? It’s like there are two different people in these two sketches: mean, tense, bossy-lady and sweet, flowery, dorky girl.

Categories
Digital art Faces Life in general Oil Painting People Portrait

Two Very Different Portraits of Very Different Women

Portrait of Cyndy, oil on panel, 8x10"
Portrait of Cyndy, oil on panel, 8×10″

I painted this oil painting from a 2nd generation scan of a difficult photo. The harsh shadows, eyes hidden behind sunglasses, and brilliant fall foliage in the background created a challenge. But this was the photo her husband wanted painted so I did my best. The subject of the painting is a beautiful woman, a brilliant researcher and educator, a terrific hostess and a wonderful mother. It was a pleasure to paint her, even with the technical challenges.

Caricature of Cristina, sketched on iPad in Art Studio
Caricature of Christina Aguilera, sketched on iPad in Art Studio

Like I said, very different portraits, very different women. I sketched this on my iPad while watching The Voice, a singing competition TV show on which Christina Aguilera was a judge. I don’t understand why the women on these shows wear skin-tight clothes and so much make up that they look like cartoon characters, but at least it makes them easy to sketch since they already look like caricatures of themselves.

I’m enjoying Nicki Minaj on American Idol. She goes even further in the makeup, false eyelashes and wigs department, looking even more like a cartoon character…and acts like one too, the way she says absolutely any random crazy thing that goes through her mind. Sometimes she’s really funny.

I guess not just movie stars are wearing false eyelashes now. The receptionist at my eye doctor’s office gets hers glued in at the salon when she has her nails done. I’d rather buy those hairs glued into a handle of a brush to paint with. Much more practical, don’t you think?

Categories
Drawing Faces Ink and watercolor wash People Self Portrait Sketchbook Pages

End of Journal Self-Portraits

End of Journal Self-Portrait, ink & watercolor
End of Journal Self-Portrait in Stillman & Birn journal, ink & watercolor

OK, let’s just get this over with. At the end of each journal I sketch a self-portrait. In the one above from the end of 2012, I had new glasses but was in need of a haircut.  I put on some lipstick and mascara to get in the spirit. Even though it’s not very complimentary (or maybe it is? Yikes) I think it looks like me.

End of Journal Self-Portrait, February 2013, Pitt brown Brush Pen and watercolor, 8x5"
End of Journal Self-Portrait, February 2013, Pitt brown Brush Pen and watercolor, 8×5″

This one was done quickly last month in a Moleskine watercolor notebook with a brown brush pen (still wearing the same old grey hoodie plus a down vest to stay warm). My hair and clothes look right but NOT my face. Oh well.

I’m now using a giant Moleskine watercolor notebook, A4 size I think. and I’m really loving it. I have a whole bunch more sketches and some oil paintings to post…. but since I feel the need to go somewhat in order I had to get these posted first. Done. Moving on.