#30faces30days

Portrait Art for Sanity Sake

watercolor on beige toned paper in Stillman + Birn NOVA TRIO sketchbook

I always learn a thing or two from Canadian artist Margriet Aasman on Sktchy. In the demo that inspired this portrait of mine she used red and blue pencils for some strategic lines and then proceeded with watercolor. It just really perked things up! along with some white accents on the toned paper. The hard part, as always, was getting the nose in the right place in this slightly off center pose.

It was easier to draw the second time. Figured I’d try it again, this time with gouache, for me a more difficult medium.

gouache on white paper

Honestly I almost gave up on gouache again, enough to throw caution to the wind with the hair. And that turned out to be my favorite part! The lesson in this, as always, is relax, take a chill pill. Painting is not meant to be torture.

watercolor on white w/c paper

Another of the Sktchy lessons in the 30faces30days March series was with a Russian artist Michael Solovyev. He uses the strangest scraggly looking brushes and makes it look like magic. He kept saying you don’t paint the figure, you paint the light!  By the end I was ready to give it a try. He’s right of course. The other brilliant thing he said was to keep the contrast down in the shadow areas. 

colored pencil, watercolor on gray toned paper

Then Andrew posted a picture on Sktchy and I couldn’t resist painting it. I got this far and it was really looking like him and that scared me. So instead of adding more paint and possibly ruining it, I stopped and photographed it. The look is androgenous and angelic, neither of which I would use as adjectives to describe my son. 

So I kept going, and then stopped again. The values weren’t right. 

So I added darker value to the side of his face and called it quits. It’s always an arbitrary stopping point. I run out of patience, time, skill, whatever and it’s time to move on!

gouache on black toned paper

The NOVA Trio toned paper sketchbook has three tones: Grey, Black, and Beige. For a while the beige was my favorite, then grey, and now black!! I love the drama of it, and by the time I finished this one, I’d decided to go over to the gouache side for a while.

Gouache on black toned paper

And today Andrew and I both decided that gouache is where it’s at. It’s F’in lit! (Can you tell I’ve been hanging out with a 28 year old?) I mean, so much drama at your finger and brush tips! especially on black toned paper.

Meanwhile we’re showing our house for sale, which means vacating the house a bit each day after making everything shipshape. Even a bit of art making helps keep us sane.

Faces in Endless Variety!

This month’s Sktchy app’s 30 faces in 30 days event has turned international with so much variety of poses! I’m way behind in posting my efforts. Although I signed up for the Sktchy School with a different teacher demo each day, I’ve not been able to watch most of them, but I’m enjoying looking at the teachers’ choice of model and approach. It’s all watercolor and gouache, and each teacher puts their personal stamp on what they do. I’ve been enjoying alternating between watercolor and gouache and trying some new techniques.

watercolor in Field Watercolor Journal with Fluid Watercolor Paper

This was Michael Creighton’s lesson. Not at all the way I usually paint but I really enjoyed this almost pointillist method of painting in brushstrokes! My impatience made it needlessly messy, but I liked the overall effect. Thank you Michael!

gouache on beige toned paper

Gouache makes for a more sculptural effect, and I like the creamy texture of the paint and the ability to paint light over dark.

pen and watercolor

I’m finding that I spend a lot more time trying to get the drawing “right” than with the painting. This one feels unfinished to me, but it was getting late and. . .so I grabbed my pen . . .What a fun subject though! He really had that blue hair with beads in it!

Pthalo blue and Quin Rose watercolor in Field Watercolor Journal

The idea for this two color portrait was from the teacher Kate Tsunoda and with an outrageously wonderful model.

watercolor

It took me forever to get this drawing close, and then it almost painted itself.

watercolor and white gel pen

This Indian gentleman with his mahogany skin was a great subject for layering of pigments.

watercolor

Another one of those characters that I would like to meet. He personifies delight! and don’t you just love his hair? an opportunity to make all those curlicues.

I just bought some more gouache colors and am looking forward to putting the paint on thicker in my next portraits!

and more faces. . .

Here’s my latest efforts with a favorite subject. . .FACES! Starting with a couple characters sketched from August Sander’s photography collection, capturing an era.

watercolor graphite on heavy weight drawing paper

It was probably a lucky accident that I chose to paint this picture with a cake of watercolor graphite. It’s so gritty, just like any war. I doubt this officer had just emerged from a battle when the picture was taken, but the gritty portrait makes it seem so.

 

sumi ink on heavy drawing paper

Such an earthy workman, this varnisher. I exaggerated his big wooden clogs to celebrate his groundedness. (might have overdone it!)

 

watercolor on beige toned paper

This woman was so lovely in that delicate way of some redheads, and I struggled terribly trying to get the eyes and nose right, measuring and remeasuring, and still the features had a life of their own. And she became a different person. Perhaps someone else I once knew?

 

watercolor and pastel pencil on gray toned paper

I just noticed the heart I painted on her cheek! No doubt making up for how frustrated I got with this one.

 

pen, watercolor, gouache on gray toned paper

This one is all about the smile. One of these people who I would love to meet, full of humor and delight.

If you’re a watercolor or gouache artist or want to learn, you might want to join me for the next month of 30faces30days in Sktchy Art School

where you’ll have a different teacher doing demos every day all month!

More fun with faces

watercolor, pastel pencil, gel pen on gray toned paper (Stillman + Birn Nova Trio sketchbook)

Every couple days I “stalk” the Sktchy app for some particularly intriguing/challenging portrait subject that other artists have drawn/painted.

Gouache on black paper

I haven’t made much headway on painting with gouache on black paper. I at least imagine it would be so much easier to use pastels since they are opaque, but I keep trying to make the water media work. Oh well, at least it’s a great exercise in seeing negative shapes!

I easily get bored with big hair, but for this I got lost in swirling with my brush and prefered the dark lilac-gray to her black hair.

More swirls with the brush and coming in at the end with some gouache color in the shadows really woke this one up.

More Faces

Most of the Muses on the Sktchy app, that is the folks who submit their picture for anyone to draw, most of them are themselves artists. Just as most of the figure models for figure studio groups are themselves artists. And that makes for some great poses with that elusive and greater sought after trait. . .Character! Here’s some more of my portrait practice.

gouache and pastel pencil on black toned paper

Those of you who are doing the #30faces30days challenge this month may recognize this muse, but do a double take. The model is a white man, but very quickly my drawing steered into person-of-color-with-a- Portland-style-man-bun territory, which I liked very much.

The caption here should read “it’s about the eyes”, and I considered cropping off the rest, but that would be too startling.

Some day maybe I’ll finish the head wrap, but by the time I got to it I was worn out. It just begs to be decorated, but then I would have to do more with the face to compensate, and I thought I’d better leave well enough alone.

I slowed down on this handsome Indian face, starting with light washes and gradually building up. Green worked really well in the shadow shapes. It’s always a bit scary to put that first brushload of green down, but it even works well in a glaze over the warm skin tones.

Portraits on Toned Paper

The Sktchy app keeps feeding my need to explore various media while practicing portrait skills; perhaps for the eventuality of finally being able to do portraits of new people I meet in person. . .unmasked. What a concept!

So here’s the latest, as I draw along with the current #30faces30days artists, only not in pencil, which is what is being encouraged this month. I’m alternating on the gray, black and beige toned papers in the 7″X10″ Nova Trio sketchbook by Stillman And Birn.

pen, watercolor, gouache on gray toned paper
pen, watercolor, white gel pen, w/c pencil

Sometimes I get frustrated enough that I just start grabbing other media and scribbling. I almost gave up on this one, then decided I’d gotten a couple of things right and should be satisfied! Perfection is just so boring anyway. Haha!

I would title this one Medusa, even though it’s a gorgeous guy. He’s also an amazing artist you can see on Sktchy, Derek McClure.

White gouache on black paper

This was another great exercise in negative thinking! meaning applying paint in the exact opposite way one does on white paper. I started the only way I could think, by drawing with a white pencil and then struggled to apply the gouache in a variety of values, but it didn’t exactly cooperate, at least not using my watercolor application methods! But if you overlook the messiness, at least it’s not a boring portrait, and my design brain got a real workout.

More 30 Faces 30 Days

I do love faces! And Sktchy is doing another 30faces30days challenge/course, this time 30 teachers demo-ing pencil drawing portraits. Not really my thing, so I’m doing a parallel play thing, painting the poses that are chosen.

watercolor, pen, pastel pencil on gray toned paper

A difficult pose, this one, chosen for that very fact. The human countenance is so rubber. It swells and shrinks in different gyrations of expression. 

A theatrical pose. One imagines an actor on stage in a tense scene of morbid anticipation.

white gouache and white gel pen on black toned paper

I loved the challenge of painting the white and light values rather than the dark. It’s the kind of reverse thinking that tickles new brain cells.

More Faces From Sktchy

It’s become a kind of peaceful occupation, usually before or after dinner, contemplating faces with pen and paint in hand, inventing some colors, changing up the watercolor with pastels. Here’s some more.day26

fine liner pen and watercolor on tan toned paper, finished with pastel pencil

day27

. . .a bride dripping flowers. . .

MylaShyv

. . .a very young beauty with a magnificent mane. . .

RickN

. . .a fascinating man, posing as a troll.

Not Procreated

This month’s #30faces30days challenge on Sktchy is also a course in Procreate-ing portraits. Although it looks like a lot of fun to draw with an iPad, and certainly makes correcting mistakes a lot easier, as well as ease of switching media, I have steadfastly resisted the trend. I won’t bore you with my reasons, but it has to do with already spending way too much time on computers, what with reading the news and answering email and so much more.  Also I just love the feel of a real brush and paper. Are you bored yet?

So I just tune into the photos each day and paint the ones that intrigue, on beige toned paper with pen and watercolor and some pastel pencil. As I’ve said before, there’s so much variety in source pictures, like Baby Kohler here.

day19

At the risk of sound very weird. . .as I was working on this portrait I could almost feel the warmth of that little body on mine, and I kept getting a whiff of that unmistakable sweet sour scent of mother’s milk which I haven’t smelled (not being a grandmother yet) for about 26 years. That’s how up close and personal this remarkable image was!

day20

And then along came Mike with his kinky/curly locks, and I couldn’t resist making him gorgeous. I hope he doesn’t mind. My prerogative, as the artist, after all.

day21

This pose was a nice change, good practice for when I’m out sketching on location again. . . some day.

day23

Only a slight exaggeration of the the photo. Love that hot pink hair!

day24

And then, the prettiest black lady . . .with an ice cream sundae of hair piled high.

Variety is the spice

A variety of faces, that’s what I enjoy about the Sktchy app. Young, old, men, women, racial differences, attitudes and expressions. . .variety is the spice. And what great practice! I fuss over each portrait until I get bored and stop before I’m really finished, which means before I’ve totally lost it!

day4

Sticking with the gray toned paper here, drawing in pen, painting with watercolor and finishing off with a bit of white gel pen, pastel pencil or gouache. The paper buckles from the wet watercolor and makes it hard to photograph evenly.

day7

I just didn’t have a good strategy to paint the very dark skin and didn’t want to ruin it, so I stopped!

day8 I loved the drawing and the hair, but messed up on the shadows, making them too purple. Argh.

day10

That glorious hair was a lot of work and I wasn’t happy til I got out the blue violent gouache.

day13

Another handsome young man and this time I didn’t make the black skin too dark!

day14

Now that I’m starting to get the hang of painting dark skin I’ve forgotten how to do light skin! Luckily the 30faces30days challenge is still going!