This portrait is a continuation of the Flower Series watercolor ink I’ve been playing with. The Sktchy Museum App model for the portrait was Remedy Rook. The artistic license was mine, or I can blame it on these crazy flower inks that are so great to play with. Three colors and a dip pen does the trick when you give them free reign.
The SktchyMuseumApp muse/model was Gianna Jimenez and I wanted to capture his morose expression. The flower series colors I selected for this may have gone a bit far. . .I almost aborted the effort, but reminded myself that my aim is to EXPRESS not to just copy.
Fast forward to this week. The muse’s name is Gravity Lives. I picked up my new kakimori pen, dipped in black ink for the line, and while it was still a bit wet, went in with a brush and diluted brown ink for some modeling. What is it about these moody males? So fun to sketch.
Check out the app. You’ll see so many great portrait artists’ work and endless quirky poses to sketch from.
I’m always on the look out for something to try in my portrait sketching. A course on Domestika has been capturing my attention lately. Experimental Portraiture with Ink, Tea, and Alcohol by Carne Griffiths.
Materials required for the course are inks that are not waterproof. I bought these Ostrich brand inks, the Flower Series. There are no color names on the boxes, except maybe in Chinese/Japanese. I made a sample chart so I could identify them.
The inks are highly transparent and the colors mix beautifully with each other as well as the brewed tea. My results do not very closely resemble the teacher’s, but I am having so much fun with them, using my fountain pens to dip into the color and draw, working in layers to paint wet shapes onto the drawing, drop some tea and more ink and occasionally alcohol. It’s definitely my kind of fun to watch what happens!
Start with a pencil drawing, add some ink line. Dissolve it a bit with water, add tea, add alcohol to push ink around. Be satisfied with what you have done, knowing it is experimental. Keep working with layers of the above.
Number two attempt here. Can you see how I’m getting bolder? Just keep trying things out, I kept telling myself.
Number 3. Should I have stopped here? I took a picture just in case. . .but then didn’t
I’m thinking I should have stopped somewhere in between this one and the previous one. What do you think? Or maybe it’s still not done?
Time to catch up on posting portraits from the past couple months. It’s my way of archiving and maybe getting ideas for new directions or more practice on old. All of these portrait subjects are from the Sktchy Museum free access archives. Many thanks to the folks who offered these great poses!
Here we go! This fellow above has the kind of face just made for portrait artists! Life experience chiseled into every dip and turn of the physiognomy.
I’m beefing it up here with lots of watercolor texture, splatters, wet crawl-backs and the stuff watercolor loves to do, if you let it.
As always though, bouncing back and forth between the quick-and-simple to “clear the palette” after getting so detailed.
Started this one with a fine liner pen, adding w/c textures in layers.
Can you tell that my main interest here became this fellow’s black hair and beard, the texture and color – blues and indigos. I never got back to finishing the rest in similar detail. Best to stop while ahead.
It’s really about the hard working hands here. What is she doing with this lapful of herbs? I imagine the simple hard working life of my ancestors. Rising before dawn, in bed by nightfall, and all those hours with no screens to lure the mind away from the tasks of the moment. . .like sorting herbs.
I wanted to try out my the new colored inks I bought for my fountain pen sketching, and ended up using them in dilutions as paint as well, and even mixing them with white gouache for pastels.
If you got this far, thanks for coming! Questions and comments welcomed.
I’ve almost filled up my Stillman and Birn Nova sketchbook with the three toned papers: beige, black, and gray. Time to order another I think. The Museum app keeps offering not only these great poses but inspired portrait art from artists all over the world. Have you tried it yet?
Abandoning refinement in the service of drama here. The particles suspended in white gouache make for a chalky surface revealed in all its roughness when painted wetly on a black surface. You have to just let it do its thing and be ready to move on! Next portrait I painted on black though, I dispensed with the white pencil drawing which did not dissolve and could not be erased.
Rick N. is another favorite on the Museum app, willing to offer his visage in the creation of characters like this ? mad magician?
No background or hair or clothing needed here! It was done in minutes. Brilliant pose Roxana!
By this day I was ready to take my time and try for a bit more refinement.
This one got a bit out of hand very quickly, drawing with the brush pen!
It’s fun to go in at the end of a portrait with some unexpected color bounce. Really the green is just an exaggeration of what is there. And it works so well with the violet tones.
Our new home is beautiful. No doubt about it. Which is not to say that it is without, shall we say, unexpected occurences which must be dealt with or accepted as is.
On the beauty end is the climate and the way the garden view enters our home (now that the recent heat dome is a point of history that is). Andrew has found the perfect perch to absorb the warming rays for a cat nap after lunch.
And then there are the surprises. Interesting sounds. Like the crickets in the toilet downstairs, sounds that is. After watching a few Youtube videos Bob was able to discover the problem and after several tries, silence the crickets, at least for now.
Then there were a few days when we would suddenly out of nowhere hear the first few bars of Beethovan’s Fur Elise. No it wasn’t the doorbell, or the dryer telling us the clothes were dry. No one at the door. . . Finally Bob discovered that it was the old security system which was being activated by something at the street, and he shut it off.
Then there was the discovery that pretty much every wall in the house is painted a color called Spiced Vinegar and it was beginning to feel like a bit much.
But walking the trails around here seems to put things to right again. A couple days ago I was walking on the Chehalis Trail just three miles from home. It reminds me a bit of the Redota Trail in Sebastopol, though the forest is denser and taller. I stopped to look at a lake that was almost covered with some kind of water lily, and a tiny old woman saw me puzzling and stopped. I knew immediately I wanted to talk to her.
And so I met one of my first new friends here in Olympia, Bronka Sundstrom, a 96 year old woman who walks 5-6 hours each day.
We walked for a while together as she told me some of her story. She was a Polish Jew who was interned in a concentration camp during WWII at the age of 12, lost her 7 siblings and both parents while there, barely survived herself. She was so debilitated when finally rescued, that she had to learn how to walk all over again. But she went on to marry a Swedish man with whom she led a long life of skiing and mountaineering, and here in Washington acquired fame for breaking records for climbing Mt. Ranier as an old woman.
Needless to say I had to sketch her portrait, and now I have a reason to see her again and give it to her. Maybe some more of that courage and determination will rub off on me. And maybe this walking-the-trail activity is not a bad to make new friends here, not to mention increasing longevity!
In this shelter-in-place lifestyle one must snap up the opportunity to sketch when the occasion presents. So for some reason Andrew and I were sitting at the kitchen table, and I guess he was showing me something on his phone. Only then he called me on FACETIME. Now why we would do that, when we were literally maskless-ly sitting across from each other at the kitchen table. . .I couldn’t say.
But I looked at my phone screen and caught this perfect moment, with the fan over his head turning him into a human helicopter, and then my laughing face in the corner, like a pesky little insect. Thank goodness for the screen save function! I mean, this is truly a reason to have a cell phone with you at all times. Wouldn’t you say?
The headphones are growing out of his ears much of the time, although also sometimes attached to the temples. Then, if he pulled his mask up over the eyes, he’d resemble one of the many insects with eyes on the sides of the head, the better to see 360 degrees.
We were having some work done on our house, so Andrew and I spent the afternoon in art making in my studio.
We are both accustomed to sketching each other and being sketched. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a mostly stationary model across a table from me, especially after relying mostly on pictures for so long.
The pose as I constructed it is a bit of commentary on the preoccupation of our culture these days with staying connected on our phones while doing other activities. In fact, he was switching back and forth from the sketchbook to texting with friends and changing the music.
This was the drawing he was working on while I drew him. Another illustration springing from his prodigious imagination. Note that there is no Procreate or Photoshop used in this, just black ink on white paper. His drawings capture so much about the human experience that it’s easy to recognise parts of yourself in them. You can see more of Andrew’s drawings on Tumblr!
The Inktober challenge is stretching way into November for me, because I just don’t want to put my ink away. Here’s the latest.
Day 24: Dig. He’s probably a nice guy just planting some bushes in his garden. But then it’s possible the shovel has a different meaning, if you know what I mean.
Day 30: Ominous. Can you tell that I love the dark drama poses? This one was a surprise, since the paper I thought was cold pressed watercolor paper turned out to be something different which acted more like a blotter paper. I almost threw it out, but instead just kept going.
So this last one is the result of some hilarity on FaceTime. Son Andrew captured this shot of his brother Ben while Ben was walking around his apartment, with the light shining over his head, creating a statue of liberty or angelic effect.
I couldn’t resist. Perhaps the angelic will serve as a needed counterpoint to the more devilish portraits in this post. (Ben is and will always be my little angel, after all!)
Are you getting your pencils sharpened and pens filled for next week’s challenge to sketch 100 people in one week, beginning Monday April 8, and share your sketches on social media? If you want to know the “rules” and the intention behind this fun challenge (now in its third year), go to the Facebook group page, join up and read a fun description with lots of ideas about how to participate. When you put your mind to it and form a plan, it is remarkably easy to do 100 quick people sketches in a week. And once you get going, sometimes it’s hard to stop!
And then, what good timing! You’ll be warmed up for the next Portrait Party at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts on April 18, 5-8pm. It’s getting to be a monthly thing, and I’m so glad because I’m meeting lots of new people, getting to sketch with beginners and professional artists both. See the details below and more about last month’s party here.