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.
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.
I’ve long been a fan of online art classes and Sketchbook Skool in particular so you can imagine how excited I was to sign up for their brand new watercolor class, Watercolor Rules and How to Break Them. I’ve loved adding watercolor to my drawings and sketchbook pages but I’ve often wanted to dive deeper into the whys and wherefores of the medium.
Signing up was a given.
After waiting impatiently all summer I finally started in last week with our first assignment… learning about colors and pigments by mixing and creating color wheels from the paints in our palettes.
My palette contains both a warm and a cool version of the three primaries along with a few neutrals and a surprise color or two. One evening I sat down and made my color wheels using all the combinations of those primaries… the neutrals and surprises will have to wait.
I think my favorite wheel is the cool yellow, cool red, warm blue… the one on the right in the image below. It makes slightly neutralized yet natural oranges and greens as well as bright violets.
But as you can see, there are more lovely mixes in each of these wheels.
There was also an additional but optional homework assignment to paint a still life without the safety net of an ink or pencil under-drawing… and create it using only three primary paints. I just couldn’t limit myself to those three and found myself sneaking other colors into my mixes.
I foresee pomegranate seeds on my salad now that they’ve done their modeling. Delicious!
I spent July continuing my watercolor portrait practice. These two were inspired by fellow Sktchy member, Lauren Arno, who challenged us at various times during the month!
And… in just over a week I’m also going to take her online watercolor class through Sktchy. I’ve always felt there’s no better way to expand my repertoire than by taking classes.
Color me happy!
Where does the time go? This morning I realized I haven’t posted in over a month and yet I’ve completed 2 additional sketchbooks since then.
I guess I’ll start in by showing you a few of my favorite portraits from May and one from early June. All were drawn from photographic references posted on the Sktchy app by other creatives. You’ll see I often switch things up by sometimes forgoing my beloved ink lines and instead choose to sketch in pencil before I paint. There’s a different feel to each of these methods but I enjoy them both.
This month watercolor was my only constant.
There are times when inspiration just isn’t to be found and you’re at a loss for an interesting subject. I know this intimately and I believe every artist goes through this at one time or another.
The essential question is how to escape the vortex. My tried and true models are always available to draw… I have three. My feet (slippered, socks, or bare), my hand (or hands), and my face (either a mirrored self portrait, from a photo, or from my imagination). Any one of these can spark an illustration and memories.
March was a month of reflection… but at least I wasn’t at a loss for a model.
March has been packed and I realize I haven’t posted my favorite portraits I drew from Sktchy! No big commentary ahead… just a few quick notes.
I love portraits, especially when I can draw hands too… it’s a double challenge.
In this portrait I used watercolor pencils… steep learning curve but so much fun when faced with a model with pink and purple hair. It turned out better than I thought it would… I shut that inner critic up!
I’m also trying to work on figure proportions… now I want pink and black striped socks.
… and see… there’s a portrait in there too!
You’ve heard me talk before about how much I like the Sktchy app I have for my phone but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is or how it works.
Here’s a blurb from the Sktchy website:
What is Sktchy?
Sktchy is an artist’s best friend. Find drawing inspiration in an ever-updating gallery of reference photos. Upload your own photos so other artists can draw you. Discover and connect with amazing artists from around the world. Share your creativity in a fun, supportive community. Bye-bye, creative block!
What if I’m not an artist?
Even if you don’t call yourself an artist, you have creativity worth sharing with the world, and Sktchy is a fun, no-stress way to get started. The Sktchy community welcomes and includes artists of all skill levels, from gallery-repped professionals to amateur doodlers. No matter where you fall in that spectrum, Sktchy is for you.
Sktchy is definitely my go-to site for artistic inspiration!
After a slow start I ended 2017 by creating sixty five drawings of human and animal portraits along with a few landscapes. I was inspired to make a slideshow of my entire 2017 Sktchy work after a few of my friends did the same.
Just under two minutes of fun… I hope you enjoy it!
If the embedded video won’t play please use the link to view it through YouTube.
Today I realized I posted only once in November and I was in danger of not posting at all this December. Just laziness I guess because I’ve been working in my sketchbook daily.
Lately I’ve been drawing dogs using photos people have generously provided through the Sktchy app. I sit on the couch with my sketchbook after dinner and relax with my pen and paints… a little added journaling and I’m off to bed, unwound and de-stressed… and dreaming of dogs.
Here in the Upper Valley summer means it’s outdoor concert season and outdoor concerts are perfect for sketchbooking.
Two weeks ago my friend Sonja Hakala, a fabulous writer and photographer, sat next to me at the Chad Hollister concert on the Quechee green. As we listened, I sketched the scene and assumed Sonja was focusing her lens to capture the crowd as usual.
Just imagine my delight when she sent me these great photos of the spread in progress and blogged about it too!
Here’s the final spread… notice the stickers! I LOVE STICKERS!
Thanks Sonja! It’s been a great season.