293 More Portraits

My favourite type of sketching for relaxation is sketching faces. I never get tired of trying to capture a likeness, and I find every new face is a new challenge. Here are some I’ve done over the last few months, all photo references were from Sktchyapp.

These first two are playing around in an A5 journal with plain drawing paper. I know it’s not suitable for watercolour, and I didn’t intend to use it, but I sometimes get carried away and can’t help myself.

The paper wrinkles when wet and can only take very limited washes but that stops me messing around too much.

This one I sketched in the basic shapes with a red coloured pencil before defining the features lightly with ink, then adding watercolour. This would have worked better if I was able to mix the colours on the paper in the initial wash instead of trying to do a second.

This next sketch was approached the same way but I used a Pentel brush pen to indicate the textures of the hat and scarf. A little watercolour pencil was added in the shadow areas, as I learnt from the previous painting that this paper doesn’t like repeated layers.

Then I switched to Strathmore toned paper as it’s great to use for ink and gouache, and the tan colour provides a warm background.

I prepainted this page with red earth acrylic paint before using a white chalk pencil for the initial sketch. Black and white gouache were the only colours used to create the drama.

Gouache can be used on a great variety of surfaces, so I used it here on the thin plain paper in my journal. I kept the initial ink line sketch light and almost covered by the paint. Even on this thin paper several layers of paint can be applied, but once again too much water in the mix will cause the paper to wrinkle as you can see in the background wash.

Same approach here but I wanted used a heavier application of ink brush pen over the paint.

And for something rather different this final image is acrylic on heavy weight watercolour paper.


291 Freeing Up

This week I discovered Mile Svob’s super 20 minute painting tutorials on YouTube, called Create Paintings You Love. He demonstrates by using big brushes, bold shapes and not stressing the details in order to loosen up and paint more freely.

Mike demonstrates 5 different principles – Tone/Value, Shape, Colour, Edges and abstraction, and different methods in each lesson. After watching the first one I was itching to start. And keeping with my personal challenge this year to use up existing or rarely used supplies I dragged out my old acrylic paints, gessoed over some failed watercolours and I was set to go.

Lesson 1 Value – Using a light and a dark plus white. I struggled a bit with this one but it really made me think about the tonal or value patterns in the design.

Lesson 2 – Shapes. This was painted from Mikes photo so I didn’t have to think too much about the composition. A great lesson in simplification.

Lesson 3 – Colour. A lesson in using contrasts in hue and intensity.

Lesson 4 – Edges. Seeing where to have hard edges in the clouds as opposed to lost edges, how to blend and soften.

Lesson 5 – Abstraction. A really fun exercise with no boundaries or direction. Abstraction has always intrigued me so it was liberating to paint with no idea where or how this would end up.

I could have continued working on this one for ages, adding and subtracting, just playing with colours and shapes.

I really enjoyed these tutorials. It was a great challenge trying to do them in 20 minutes. I probably went a couple of minutes over on some but it forced me to not stress the details. If you like the look of these sign up with the link above. Mike is doing another mini online painting course starting 24 January.

269 Looking Back for a New Direction 

Years ago I made my living from painting  and teaching Folk and Decorative art. You can see what I did at my old mothballed site here

I painted a lot, sold a lot and made many friends along the way.  But after selling my business and relocating, I put down the brushes for over 4 years. It took another move to a beautiful new location and a new set of painting friends before I started painting again. I joined the local Art Centre and took part in a 9 x 5 charity auction and painted this little still life, using acrylic paints and decorative painting techniques. 

Much as I enjoyed this style of painting I felt wanted a different direction, something quick and fun and less precious so I started looking online and joined in several sketching forums and tutorials. So began my love affair with pen and wash and watercolour, as well as playing around with gouache and pastels. It’s all good fun. 

But recently I spotted a great reference photo, posted by Crispur on Wetcanvas which made me want to resurrect the acrylics again, but trying to paint in a looser manner than before, using a big brush. 

That came together fairly quick and whetted my appetite for another still life.  Hey, this might be the start of a new series coming on 😁. 

 It takes a bit of getting used to the colour shift and the drying time, so I’m having to relearn how to use acrylics again. I’m using Atelier Interactive acrylics which have a slower drying time than the ones I used to use. I might have to investigate Atelier Free Flow or Holbein Acryl gouache as they may suit me better. Have any of you tried either of these paints? I love to hear from you in the comments. 

And, don’t worry, I’m not about to put away the watercolours just yet 😄

250 Finishing UFOs

I decided this past week to finish off some of my ufo’s………unfinished objects 😊 I’m  working my way through the pile. This landscape was from a National Park we visited on our long trip around the country. It has been in the unfinished pile for ages, so now there is one less.  I think I salvaged it and will hopefully sell it at an exhibition later in the year. 

I do have a lot more unfinished paintings to work through and I will be ruthless. If I can’t make them work I’ll bin them.

In the meantime I had a morning with the local pleinair air group at the beach. Fine weather but the wind was a little chilly, which always makes me sketch a lot quicker. The first sketch is watercolour on cartridge paper.

The next one was a little gouache, looking across the bay.

And then I went for something completely different, a larger acrylic on canvas. I haven’t painted with acrylic for a long time and I forgot how much darker it dries, opposite to watercolour. This is 600 x 450 mm or 24 x 18″. Another one for the exhibition?

169 More sketches

I finished Every Day in May and I thought I would have a break from sketching. No more feeling obliged to do that daily sketch even if I didn’t feel inspired. But …….. I missed it.

So I joined in with the June facebook group, but I’m not committing to every day, just when the mood strikes. I’m aiming for quick 20 minute sketches using a sketchbook not really suitable for watercolour. Its all about getting extra miles on the pen and brush so I’m using up what is on hand. I won’t subject you to all of those sketches, just the occasional one. Like this one. The prompt was music.

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Back to acrylics. This was the final lesson in Patti Mollica’s Strathmore online tutorial using a photo from the weekend challenge on Wetcanvas.

The photo was a farm scene in southern Queensland provided by Aussie sketcher.

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36 x 30 cm on gessoed watercolour paper

165 Cupcake Wallet and Pears

 Every Day in May sketches again. Yesterday’s prompt was for a cupcake. No cupcakes in my house…….. I don’t really even like them but they do look good. Rather than google a cupcake to paint I cheated and posted one I had done some time ago. I just didn’t feel like sketching one yesterday.

This was done in a Strathmore watercolour visual journal with brown tombow marker and watercolour.rps20150520_164249_721

#20 – Your wallet.

I love this wallet after having a plain old black one that was almost impossible to see on black seat covers in a dark garage. It’s much easier to spot than my old one.rps20150520_164315_675

This morning I checked in the Strathmore online workshop for lesson 3. Pears! Its aways great to paint pears and it was another great lesson in limited brush strokes with one brush. I did manage to find a new  1 1/2″ brush and used it on this.


162 Rooster, Brush, Stairs and Glasses

I have a few pics today. A bit of a back log. I have been doing my EDIM sketches daily, well almost, but now I have caught up to #14 on the 14th.

First is my acrylic rooster painting from the Strathmore online workshop with Patti Mollica, still trying to master using one brush. It is a challenge but I always like a challenge.rps20150514_212634_879

The prompt for the Every Day in May #12 was for stairs or steps. I painted this in my Canson Montval journal, just to see how it compares with the Saunders paper I have been using for these sketches. I think I prefer it to the Saunders which I find is too slow drying for this quick sketchy style of painting, and the colours don’t seem quite as vibrant.rps20150514_212709_220

Day 13 prompt was for the last item you bought. Surprise that it just happened to be a paintbrush. Funny how art supplies just seem to jump into the shopping bag. I thought this brush looked pretty good for gouache. This is back to Saunders paper.rps20150514_212739_917

Day 14 was something you use each day. Lots of mundane things came to mind, but something I just couldn’t do without is my glasses. I probably wouldn’t be able to use most of the other stuff without themrps20150514_212808_234