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 Faces People Sktchy Watercolor

Emily in Watercolor with Odd 3-Pigment Palette

Emily Christen from Sktchy, Watercolor, 10×6”

I watched the interesting class taught by Kirsten Britt on Sktchy and then, as usual, I painted the subject completely differently than was instructed. Kirsten’s work is beautiful but is all about splotches (here’s her version on IG).

3-Pigment Triad, Limited Palette

I used an odd limited palette for this one which made it a little challenging. The pigments are DS Perylene Scarlet, DS Cobalt Teal and WN Raw Sienna. It wasn’t possible to get any real darks so I stuck with a high key painting.

Original sketch, graphite on paper, 10×6”
My check of the sketch in Procreate

I got very close with my sketch, even with the camera distortion; I only needed a few small adjustments.

Work in Progress – First passes of color
Photo reference
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 Drawing Faces Painting People Portrait Watercolor

Terrible Watercolor Triad, Mean Model

Mean Model, Watercolor portrait of woman, 8.5”x7”
Mean Model, Watercolor, 8.5”x7”

I recently spent a couple weeks working through a Proportions and Rhythms of the Head portrait drawing class created by Bradwynn Jones. I watched him do the demo drawings (mostly while working out on my rower) and then sketched them myself. When I finished all the drawings I transferred them to watercolor paper and started painting them. This is the first one I painted.

Reference Photo of Mean Model

I took an immediate dislike to this model. She was pretty but mean-girl looking to me. I decided to experiment with a triad of colors on her that turned out to be equally unpleasant.

Final Sketch for the painting

Cobalt Violet has very low tinting strength and just sits on top of the paper, so it came right off if I tried to glaze over it. It is both opaque and granulating, causing an unpleasant texture for skin.

Color wheel test of triad limited palette

The QOR Nickle Azo Yellow also had low tinting strength and when mixed with the violet made a yucky brownish color for shadows. The QOR Paynes Grey combined with the yellow made a gross greenish-gold of her hair.

I didn’t really care because, like I said, take that, mean girl!

Also, Payne’s Grey; I’ve never understood why people use it. Most brands make it from black and ultramarine blue and sometimes a bit of violet. I guess it’s a convenience color, but one that would be so easy to make, though I prefer not to use black paint in watercolor.

Do you use Payne’s Grey? If you do please tell me why and which brand you like.

Initial sketch with needed corrections superimposed in Procreate