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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?

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Art Drawing Faces Gouache Painting People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Forest Bather in Gouache

Bennett P from Sktchy in Gouache, 10×7 inches

I really enjoyed painting this calm, pleasant young man amidst the trees, seemingly bathing in the cool forest light. You can see his original photo reference on Sktchy here.

I started with a pencil sketch on copy paper. Then to check my drawing, I compared my sketch to the photo by scanning my sketch into Procreate with the original photo. On a new layer I traced the photo with a red line and layered that over the sketch (see below). Using the red lines as a reference, I corrected my original sketch on paper, transferred the sketch to watercolor paper and then painted.

Bennett’s reference photo was part of the Sktchy “30 days in Watercolor and Gouache” class taught by Mike Creighton, one of my favorite Sktchy teachers. I thought it would be interesting to share his painting; such a different feel from mine!

Mike Creighton’s gouache painting

He used a limited palette and did a lot of mark making with his brush. I know the idea of the Sktchy classes is to try to mimic the teachers in order to learn a variety of different approaches and techniques, but I almost always end up taking what I like and then going my own way.

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Art Gouache Painting People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Mystery Girl Detective in Purple

Kate K. from Sktchy, gouache on paper, 8.5 x 7 inches
Kate K. from Sktchy, gouache on paper, 8.5 x 7 inches

While I worked on the sketch for this painting I listened to a mystery audiobook with a female detective so when it came time to do the painting, I decided to make her a detective in a dark subway or tunnel. Using a limited, complimentary palette of mostly purple and yellow (because of her hair, see reference photo below) I put her in a purple trench coat.

Kate K. from Sktchy reference photo
Kate K. from Sktchy reference photo

The teacher for this lesson on Sktchy Art School is a big fan of patterned backgrounds, as you can see in this link to her painting. She used “Acryla Gouache” in her demo, which I have tried and don’t like. It’s basically just opaque and matte acrylic, not “real” gouache in my opinion.

Initial sketch for painting of Kate K.
Initial sketch for painting of Kate K.

In the sketch above you can see that I indicated the divisions between the shadows and light areas. I’m trying to focus on keeping my value families separated, keeping the darks together separately from the lights family.

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Art Drawing Faces Gouache Painting Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Librarian (?) in Gouache with Zorn Palette

Stacy D from Sktchy in Gouache using Zorn Palette, 10x7 inches
Stacy D from Sktchy in Gouache using Zorn Palette, 10×7 inches

I dramatically changed the setting of this portrait from a graffiti-covered wall (photo at bottom) to a library. There was something about her expression and clothing that made me think judgmental librarian, not the hip artist she appears to be in her photo feed on Sktchy. (Not that librarians can’t be hip artists! I was thinking of the mean school librarian who was always shushing us and glaring if we giggled.)

This was the last lesson in Mike Creighton’s Sktchy class on gouache portrait painting and color mixing. This lesson was about the Zorn palette: white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light and black. I’m really enjoying playing with limited palettes and discovering all the varieties of color possible with them.

In my initial sketch below, I hadn’t decided on the background yet.

Stacy D. from Sktchy, initial sketch on Xerox paper
Stacy D. from Sktchy, initial sketch on Xerox paper

When I decided to change the background from the wall in the reference photo below, to a library I did a quick internet search and found the photo below, right, which I used as inspiration.

Reference photo of Stacy D from Sktchy
Reference photo of Stacy D from Sktchy
Internet photo for library photo reference
Internet photo for library photo reference
Categories
Art Drawing Gouache People Portrait Sktchy Sktchy

Triadic Color Scheme in Gouache

Jennifer L. from Sktchy, weird 3-color gouache triadic color scheme, 10x8 inches
Jennifer L. from Sktchy, weird 3-color gouache triadic color scheme, 10×8 inches

A triadic color scheme is one in which three colors are chosen for the palette that are equal distance apart on the color wheel. For example, either the three primaries (red, yellow, blue) or three secondaries (orange, purple, green) or tertiaries like red-orange, blue-green, etc. The colors I chose were a little weird: Linden Green, a greenish yellow because I wanted to capture the brilliant greens in the garden, plus Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red Light.

I thought the Linden Green and Cad Red Light made some interesting skin tones.

Mixing experiments with triad of Linden Green, Cad Red Light and Ultramarine Blue

Like all of the reference photos that Mike Creighton chose for his Sktchy gouache and color class, I wasn’t particularly attracted to paint this reference photo (at bottom of post). So I tried to think of it not as a portrait but a puzzle to play with color mixing plus a chance to practice my drawing.

In my initial sketch below, her hand and fingers were the most fun and most challenging.

Initial Sketch on Xerox paper
Reference photo

Overall I’m not thrilled with this one. I don’t really like looking at it. But the puzzle process and mixing experiment was really fun.