Categories
Art Drawing Faces Painting People Portrait Watercolor

In the Light, In the Dark

Lady in the Light, watercolor, 8×6″

After watching a Sktchy watercolor demo by Alison Pinto, I tried my hand at drawing (see below) and painting this sweet face. I want to assemble a good palette for watercolor portraits, so tried Alison’s interesting palette (see bottom of post for pigments and reference photos). So far I know I do not like Burnt Sienna in portraits.

Sketch for Lady in Light watercolor portrait
Sketch for Lady in Light
Lady in Dark, watercolor, 8x6.5"
Lady in the Dark, watercolor, 8×6.5″

I was a little happy with this painting until I realized I’d given her googly eyes and started trying to “fix” the painting, which with watercolor translates to “wreck” the painting. Oh well. This is a scan I made before I started “fixing.”

Lady in Dark,sketch
Lady in Dark, sketch

Pigments: : Winsor Lemon, Indian yellow, Permanent Rose, Holbein Opera, Burnt Sienna, Winsor Violet and Winsor Green Blue Shad

Categories
Art Drawing Faces Painting People Portrait Watercolor

Sweet Mime, Sad Mime, Not Really

Sweet Mime, Watercolor, 10×7”

In the reference photo (see bottom of post) he was just a skinny, shirtless guy photographed too close-up, which made his already big nose even bigger. I thought he looked like a French mime so I put him in a mime costume.

Below is my first attempt at painting him. I had so many problems with the drawing being off and the paint handling. His shirt, scarf and suspenders were so pretty and fresh before I muddied them up.

Sad Mime, watercolor, 10×7.5”

I’m still working on portrait drawing skills. It took four drawings before I had one that was close enough to paint.

Below are the various drawings and attempts at correcting them (tracing of photo superimposed on my drawing in Procreate) and the original reference photos.

The drawing and correction process
Reference Photos
Reference Photos (click to enlarge)
Categories
Art Drawing Faces Painting People Portrait Watercolor

Relearning Watercolor: Juni and Ginger Guy

Juni by the Pool, watercolor, 7.5×6.5”

After nearly a decade away from watercolor, I should have painted a pear or apple to practice. Instead I chose a difficult subject: little Juni, after a swim, with the cool, aqua colors of the pool and the reds of her beach towel reflected in her face (the latter overemphasized and unable to be lightened in my painting unfortunately).

I tried four times to draw and paint her and I may try this one again when I feel more competent.

Watercolor painting of redhead man
Boring Guy, Watercolor 10×7″

After I gave up on painting Juni, I tried painting this ginger-haired guy from a photo (below) from an online drawing demo. I found it a little easier to draw and paint him, since I don’t know him. It’s both exciting and frustrating to be relearning watercolor.

Below are the sketches and reference photo. As you can see, my first sketch was missing a huge chunk of the back of his head, a common rookie error. To check my drawing I layered a tracing of the photo over my sketch in Procreate. When I saw how far off I was, I started over with a second drawing that was more accurate.

From left, clockwise:
Final Sketch, Corrected First Sketch, First Sketch, Reference Photo
Categories
Art Oil Painting Watercolor

Farewell Oil Painting; Hello Watercolor, My Old Friend

Strawberries, Cheerios and Milk, 20×21″, watercolor 2013

The watercolor paintings in this post are from 10-20 years ago. I haven’t been posting new work for several months because I got stuck working on one oil painting portrait. I struggled with it, overworking, reworking, starting over, rinse and repeat. There’s something about being able to endlessly work on an oil painting that triggers my perfectionism, and not in a good way.

Pink Rose, 2003, Watercolor, 16×12″

Watercolor and gouache have natural stopping points. You have to pause to let the paint and paper dry. You can’t keep painting layer on layer endlessly or you have a muddy mess. You either call it done or you start over.

Sister City Parade, Watercolor, 22×30″, 2001
(An actual parade going down the street in my neighborhood
when I was moving in 22 years ago)

I also became sensitive to solvents. I stopped using Gamsol while painting but even the smell of drying oil paint without solvents made me feel icky. Just using a little Gamsol for brush and palette cleaning left me with the taste of metal in my mouth and a headache, both signs of chemical sensitivity. I already have funky lungs so that was it. Bye-bye oils.

Ruth Bancroft Gardens Old Barn, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
Ruth Bancroft Gardens Old Barn, ink & watercolor, 5×8″ 2013, SOLD

I’ve always preferred the look of watercolors to oil paintings anyway. In fact the only paintings I have hanging in my home are watercolors. I thought I would go through a grieving period but it’s been a couple months and I’ve felt only relief and excitement.

Sleeping Neighbor, Watercolor 30×22″, 2009, SOLD

I have thousands of dollars worth of oil paint, oil brushes, canvases, panels and oil paper that I will sell at some point. In the meantime, I’m finding it thrilling to watch water and color flow on paper again.

Sold. Michelle’s Rose, Watercolor, 2015 (SOLD)
(Painted as a demo in a watercolor class I was teaching)
Categories
Flower Art Sketchbook Pages Still Life Watercolor

Busby’s Orchid in Sadie’s Footprint Pot

Orchid for Busby in Sadie Footprint Pot, graphite and watercolor, 11x7 in
Orchid for Busby in Sadie Footprint Pot, graphite and watercolor, 11×7 in

For Mothers’ Day my daughter-in-law Brittney gave me this adorable flower-pot that she and her mom decorated with my grandbaby Sadie’s footprints (dipped in paint) as the wings of a butterfly. Then last week a florist delivered a beautiful double orchid plant to me from my veterinarian in memory of my kitty Busby who, sadly, had died the previous week.

The orchids were a perfect match for the Mothers’ Day pot and combining the two helped ease my mind and lift my spirits. I see the orchid and feel sad for Busby and then see the pot and feel happy about little Sadie. It was fun and challenging to draw while trying to keep track of which flower and bud were which.