A Few Process Photos

When I started this portrait I had to keep reminding myself to take it slow and stop now and again for photos… success!

Again I used just a few pencil guidelines as reference for my first light watercolor washes.

After they dried I put in the background wet in wet.

It seems I’m always waiting for paint to dry but I love the look when it dries naturally. I have a heat gun I could use but then the background would dry before the paints had a chance to mingle and create the beautiful mottled surface.

Next it was time to add more skin tone glazes and figure out how to portray beard stubble… I dabbed the color on with my finger!

I really need to see if I can correct that left eye… the inner corner should be a tiny bit lower.

More layers to suggest his laugh lines and it’s time to stop before I start fiddling. I peeled off the artist’s masking tape… signed it… dated it… and done.

Pencil and Watercolor in an 8 in. square HandBook Watercolor Journal. Portrait of a muse from Sktchy.

First Stage

Starting a portrait can be intimidating. I’m often left wondering how and where to begin. How do I want the finished project to look? Do I want to use pencil or ink for the basic drawing? Do I want the coloring to be subtle or bold? What to do first?

Here I quickly sketched her in pencil and then put in light washes for her skin tones and shadows before putting in the background wet in wet. I decided to aim for bold.

It’s fortunate I remembered to stop and take a photo. I so often get in the flow, keep painting and only when I’m finished think how a few early photos would help me as a reference for techniques I could use when starting another project.

I had masked off a frame using 1/2 inch artist’s tape which allowed the painting to have a nice crisp edge as it floats on the page. It’s definitely a technique I’ll be trying again.

You’ll see… I’ll share another on Monday. In the meantime, Happy Groundhog Day!

Pencil and Watercolor in an 8″ square HandBook Watercolor Journal. Portrait of a muse from Sktchy.

Inktober 2018 Revisited… a Video!

I’ve meant to do this for months… nothing better than a deadline to prompt a procrastinator to “get the lead out”!

A friend in a mutual Facebook group put out the challenge to sketch daily… “organic shapes from observation”… and Daily Potato was born. It was October, it was time for Inktober, and it was destiny… I chose to do a mashup of Inktober, #dailypotato, and finally filling the Strathmore 500 Mixed Media Journal with pre-painted spreads I created in Roz Stendahl’s online class “Textures”.

When doing these month-long projects I like to have the framework of a theme, however loosely defined, to help me focus. I tend to follow that plan the first week or so but as the month progresses boredom sets in. In order to keep it interesting and fun I find it’s important to start reaching and experimenting. Raiding my stash of multicolored FW Acrylic Inks was definitely the best part of this project!

Enjoy the short video, it’s less than 4 minutes long. I hope you like seeing how my pages progressed through the month.

(All pages: Sailor Fude pen with water-soluble black ink and assorted colors (including white) FW Acrylic Ink in a Strathmore 500 Mixed Media Journal with pre-painted page spreads.)

Sumo Mandarins

When it’s cloudy, cold and windy and summer’s only a memory I seek respite by enjoying one of the best gifts of winter.  It’s the season of fresh sweet citrus.

I was inspired to pick up these two Sumo Mandarins at our local co-op particularly because they still had their leaves and stems attached.

Subjects for my next watercolor experiment? It was their destiny!

I hear they’re usually larger than my two but they’re as delicious as advertised. Thank goodness the season is young.

Moleskine Fan… Not.

I’m baffled why I keep buying landscape sketchbooks as I’m not a fan. I must have either needed a bit of retail therapy or like a magpie I was drawn to the bright Moleskine brand and packaging.

The extreme horizontal format is great for capturing broad sweeping vistas but that’s not my preferred drawing and painting subject. Oh I do a few, but when I do, I tend to choose one of my larger sketchbooks.

This must have been one of the older Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks with inferior paper because many of my earlier pages were plagued with watercolors which bled through to the other side. I can put up with a lot of issues including buckling but bleeds are a deal breaker for me. I need to remember this experience and commit to never buying another.

But… once I start a book, no matter how uncomfortable I feel, I also feel compelled to finish it. I want to number it, shelve it, and pick another. So began my quest.

The model’s arm position worked well with this format.

The text block balances the sketch and fills the white space.

I’m pretty pleased with myself that I managed to draw her in the near darkness.

A few more sketches and then, magically, I had reached the last page. I quickly drew a modified contour selfie, added splashy watercolor, and a new favorite quote…

Done!

Inktober 2018 : Days 20 – 23

Four more spreads today and I’m sure no one will be surprised my favorite is Day 21 – Scallions.

I have two new markers that I filled with yellow and green FW Inks. They put down a juicy amount that can be spread easily with a brush.

I’m also trying a different marker with the FW white ink. It’s not as opaque as the Higgins white I’ve been using, but I don’t care, it flows so much better I don’t mind going over a line or two if I need to.