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.
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.
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.
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’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!
Who knew there are yellow and red striped peppers? I guess we all do now. This little guy went through so many layers… ugly, ugly, ugly and then… Boom! Done!
But too much blank space… one of the ideas was to use gouache when lettering. But what if I ruined it? …and after all that work!
Sometimes you just have to go for it.
Btw… remind me what a pain it is to paint background around an object! I used matte acrylic craft paint from Jo-Ann. Cloudless. Yum!
I now have a small selection to use instead of wasting my good gouache on backgrounds.
Next I was inspired by a favorite batik pattern… ooops! The full tortoise in the lower right is the correct pattern. I forgot the second line on the shell for all the others. And yes, I painted the entire page first with acrylic before I even thought about gouache.
I thought I was brilliant but in fact I was too smart for my own good. I wanted to keep the paint nice and juicy so I kept a slightly dampened sponge in my palette and tucked the whole thing in a zip-top bag. It must have been way too humid because my M. Graham Sap Green seemed to be growing MOLD! A “science experiment ” as Roz Stendahl says. Ugh! Just a small square of sponge now and no more plastic bag! It must have been the honey M. Graham uses to keep the paint soft and moist.
Today was hot enough for me to pull out my mother’s old silk chinese paddle fan. As I cooled myself I admired the hand-painted bird and flowers. Could I do that someday?
I’m off to re-watch the videos to see what I might want to try next… I’ll just be here playing. Have a great day!