Yet Another Online Gouache Painting Session

I meant to post this in March but time just slipped away so here I am backdating it (as I post this it is early April) so it will show up in correct chronological order.

On March 12, 2023, I logged into Zoom for another gouache paint-along with Gayle Kabaker and Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Since March is Women’s History Month Gayle and Jennifer chose Women and Pattern for their theme.

I loved creating the quick celebrity portraits on assorted pre-painted colored ovals. The trick is to capture only the defining features, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s collar or Frida Kahlo’s eyebrows.

Then it was time to do the portrait of a lady with a fan. I had to go over the white markings in her hair to get decent opacity. I guess I need to get myself a tube of Winsor & Newton white gouache. It’s Gayle and Jennifer’s recommended brand for just that reason.

I don’t usually work with gouache outside of these online workshops but I do enjoy the fun few hours departure as I paint with other artists around the globe.

Another Gouache Class with Gayle & Jennifer

I’ve been working very hard to finish a year long project that I’m planning to share in late December but in my down-time I’m enjoying short and fun online classes and workshops. The latest was Inspired by Pattern, another paint-along workshop by Gayle Kabaker and Jennifer Orkin Lewis.

I’ve always leaned toward the “less is more” end of the design spectrum so this was a real stretch for me. You can see when I painted along with Gayle my pattern making only extended to the flowers in my model’s hair. I’m still pleased since I’m trying to use more warm hues, especially yellows, in my work.

If you’re interested in joining another one of these workshops, Gayle and Jennifer are going to do another on Monday, December 6th. This one will be a holiday card themed class and you can find out more HERE.


Gouache and #paintwithGJ

An online class with two of my art heroes? Definitely count me in!

Gayle Kabaker spent a week at the Jersey shore and invited Jennifer Orkin Lewis, aka August Wren to join her and host an online gouache class from the beach house.

Since I haven’t been able to get to the shore and walk the beach this year, or last year for that matter, I have been longing to escape. Painting with buff and ochre for beach sand, cerulean and ultramarine for sky and sea, brought the ocean to my drawing table. My goal was to paint along during the hour and a half presentation. It felt so good to stretch my artistic muscles.

Thank you Gayle and Jennifer!


A Parrot… from Start to Finish

After doing a whole month of ink work it was hard to let go. I started drawing a parrot on a pre-painted acrylic ink background, fully thinking I would do it all with my ink filled fountain pen.

Instead of having my subject looking off the edge of the book, I usually place it so it’s looking toward the center of the book as I do here.

I even put quite a bit of work into the shading and modeling of the beak but it didn’t feel right. I got up, made myself a cup of tea, and thought about why I was so hesitant to keep going. I finally realized I was missing color!

This parrot is red. No, not just red, but a screaming scarlet red! And he wasn’t about to let me portray him with a bunch of black lines.

OK… color. I could use red watercolor but because green is its complement in color theory the red would turn muddy grey against the green. Not what this parrot deserves.

I went in search of my gouache that has been languishing in a drawer since earlier this summer. Gouache has larger particles of pigment which in turn yields greater opacity. Just what I was looking for.

I layered the gouache thick enough to obscure the background, along with ninety-nine percent of my ink lines, but not so thick that the paint will crack as the page is turned.

As I was debating what to do on the verso page of the spread I remembered an overheard humorous comment on the current political climate… “What could possibly go wrong?”

It had to go in the journal!

I still chuckle every time I open the journal and see this spread… just one of the reasons why I create.

Done Fakin’ It ‘Till Next Year

April has come and gone and I’ve been finished with my Fake Journal for two weeks.  I took a lovely break, went on vacation, and am back with my wrap-up.

I’ll be posting the full wrap-up on Skylark Karma, my fake journal blog, but as I’m unable to share video there I’m going to post it here instead!


If this video doesn’t play you can also watch it through YouTube.

If this piques your interest be sure to check out the daily postings of my 2017 Fake Journal… that way you can easily read my character’s daily writings.

Hope to see you there!

It’s All About the Process

Today I’m sharing the process of my latest gouache spread. For once I took a few photos as I went along but I only wish I had remembered a bit earlier as I started to blend the body color of the birds.

Oh well… next time.

I started by creating a basic line drawing over a pre-painted matte acrylic background.

Even though I intended to cover my lines with opaque passages of gouache just having them there helped me feel more confident as the painting progressed.

Then there comes a time when you think you’re done but when you step back you realize you’re still not there.

What’s missing?  Now it’s time to critique. In this case I had plenty of medium and dark values but almost no lights. Daley-Rowney Pro White was the perfect addition.

And then there’s color theory. Violet and Orange are both secondary colors… two of the colors in the secondary triad. The other color in the triad?  Green. Eureka! I need leaves and an odd grouping of them across the spread.

A little Payne’s Gray for feather definition and I consider it done.


I can’t remember which of my friends sent me this meme but they definitely knew my love of paleontology and dinosaurs, both real and plastic.

Plastic is made of oil.

Oil is made of dinosaurs.

Plastic dinosaurs are made from real dinosaurs.

No… oil was formed long before dinosaurs lived. And besides, this dinosaur is made of gouache!


As Long As I’m Dreaming

I’m into week four of my summer gouache adventure.

My original thought was to use gouache exclusively for a month but that just wasn’t to be. I often work away from home, sometimes in a café, and my palette’s just too large to carry with me all the time. I have a smaller empty palette at the ready; I just need to stop procrastinating and fill it!

I’m loving Mary Ann Moss’s OMG! class videos and she’s given us plenty of sketching subject ideas but so far my pages have been inspired by my fellow classmates. Case in point, one artist  painted her favorite sparkling water… I joined in by painting mine!

Daler-Rowney Pro White… I couldn’t have lettered without it.

Oh No!!! I’ve misspelled the type of mango! Luckily, I had made a practice page before I lettered. The base is acrylic paint… plastic, right? Could I wash off my transposed letters?

Oh Yeah! …….. whew… a save.

Time for more experimentation.  I’ve finished each of my sketchbooks with a self portrait, sometimes in ink, sometimes in watercolor, This time it was all about the gouache!

And then a favorite painting reduced from 8 foot square to less than 8 inches square in my journal!

I could live in this painting.

As long as I’m dreaming…