I’ve been experimenting with gouache over gesso on these little canvases. It’s not as receptive as paper, as I like to begin with thinned paint to block in the shapes, progressively adding thicker paint strokes on top. The gesso is a bit resistant to the initial layer of paint and it takes a little extra work to cover the white spots that show in the weave. When finished I give the canvas a couple of light coats of Matt varnish spray. Ready to hang on the wall without having to frame behind glass.
Why bother with gouache instead of acrylic? No particular reason, I just love gouache!
And at last, my first selfie sketch without glasses! I have had follow up eye surgery after 5 months following complications with the first surgery. Now all is good and I am just using cheapie x2 glasses for reading.
Watercolour with watercolour pencil in 6 x 8 Quill
cartridge paper journal.
I’ve been on holidays, camping out in the great outdoors and also taking a break from social media. Mobile coverage is very patchy when travelling in this big country, so it was rather nice to switch off and chill out for a while. I took it easy and only did a few sketches at some of the stops along the way.
I took along a Strathmore 500 Mived Media journal and used it for this sketch of the original cottage on a large grazing station. It was painted while sitting in the shade of a large eucalyptus tree – a very enjoyable hour.
Further up the coast the soil changes to red and is a great contrast to the white sand, blue sky and aqua water. This peaceful bay is inhabited by a friendly family of dolphins.
I also had a Moleskine journal with me and used it for these little thumbnail gouache sketches of a couple of campsites along the way. The paper in this journal is great for gouache.
I didn’t make much use of my mini journal although it was really handy for a couple of quick sketches when I only had a few minutes, just enough time to scribble a few lines and add colour.
And one in a larger journal. This is Buddy, a cute little fellow we met at the caravan park. He was a rescue dog and is totally devoted to his mum and charmed everyone who met him. I did this painting and gave it to his mum, but Buddy wasn’t too sure about it. He growled at it. Maybe he didn’t like that other dog looking at him, lol.
This was in a 11 x 14″ in a Holcraft Journal 200 gsm cartridge paper. I know I said I was going to travel light and take minimal supplies but I just happened to call into a RiotArt store on the way and spotted these discontinued journals at less than half price. As an added bonus if I spent over $40 there was another 50% reduction. 4 journals for $24! How good is that 😊
It’s been a while and I apologise for the slowdown in my postings. No excuse! Life gets in the way 😉 I’ll simply do a catch-up of all portrait practise done over the last few weeks.
All photo references are from Sktchyapp. First is a gouache and watercolour pencil sketch of Anita.
I like to mix things up a bit so I used Strathmore toned paper for a graphite sketch, adding a little white pencil in the light areas for this sketch of Ciara. The background was a watercolour wash of Quin Gold with some red dropped in. I rubbed some yellow and red watercolour pencil onto sandpaper and allowed the particles to drop into the wet wash.
Another toned paper sketch of Pat, with a Pentel brushpen with gouache added for the flesh and background areas.
A mixed media sketch of Rick, on toned paper again. Pentel brushpen, gouache and watercolour pencil.Dusti provided the next image and I used this for more experimenting. First I applied a random wash of Ultramarine and Raw Sienna, then drew over that with the brushpen. I added a bit more colour to define the features and shadows.Another experiment but I have no idea what I’m doing with these el cheapo kiddies markers. It’s fun scribbling though. Thanks to Simone for letting me play around with her image.
This sketch of Ellen is on toned paper again with the Pentel brushpen and watercolour pencils. I often use a white Posca marker or a Signo Uniball pen for the highlight in the eyes.Lastly is a watercolour sketch of Robin. I do enjoy watercolours but should really use proper watercolour paper instead of this inexpensive journal. It’s not meant for wet media but it seems to work ok and can take limited layers. I
The Quill journal I’ve been using for most of the sketches has 250gsm cartridge paper and is about 15 x 20cm or 6 x 8″.
I initially only intended to use graphite and coloured pencil but I started adding markers, gouache and watercolour. I find I am much less precious using this cheap book and much more inclined to experiment, and not worry about the outcome. Much less intimidating than using a “good” book with precious paper.
Last week our pleinair outing was at the old cemetery. Some of the group were reluctant to paint in a spooky place but I thought we were paying homage to the old forgotten graves. I’m sure the spirits of the departed would have looked on us as friendly visitors. The weather wasn’t so kind to us though, as after about an hour the skies opened up and we were soaked in a matter of minutes 😄 Luckily I took a photo just before the drenching and the paint running and dripping off the page.
Back safe and warm indoors I resorted back to portraits from Sktchyapp, trying different techniques and materials. First up is an ink and coloured pencil sketch on Strathmore tan toned paper. The white highlights are Uniball Signo white pen.
Next was a gouache and Pentel brushpen in a Quill journal.
And because I have a couple of commissions coming up I thought I should try out some “good” Fabriano Artistico paper again, and do some step by step progress shots. This is the ghastly stage 😄 Using a very limited palette – cadmium yellow, cadmium red and a little cerulean for the flesh tones. Adding some darks with burnt sienna, ultramarine and pthalo blue, and a few splashes to try and loosen up a little.
The final dark accents on the face, glasses and background.
More portraits 😁 It seems that I can’t go a day without a portrait now. Each time I go into my art room to think about starting a “proper painting” another portrait calls out to me. This next one is another watercolour pencil sketch with a waterbrush touched here and there. This process is a bit hit and miss, sketching, adding water with the brush, and going over that with pencil. If I need extra depth or colour I draw directly into the wet area and sometimes dip the pencil into water. Most of my watercolour pencils are Faber Castell with a few Staedtler and Caran D’Arche as well. This is a sketch of Joanne from Sktchyapp.
Another portrait of Jane from Sktchyapp painted in gouache with Pentel ink brushpen over.
A quick sketch from real life. I decided it’s about time I tried another selfie, standing in front of the mirror using a brown Pitt artist pen in a crappy sketchbook. I added the watercolour with a waterbrush and watercolour pencils. You can see the different pencil lines, the lighter ones are used dry and the darker are into wet areas.
And finally something different. We had a gorgeous autumn day last week so we went for a picnic at a nearby National Park. I did a little value sketch followed by a quick little gouache. I quite like the scene and hope to get around to doing a “proper painting” of this in the future.
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?
We are experiencing stunning summer weather here on the south coast, well most days. One day last week my painting buddy and I headed to the King River, an idyllic spot with beautiful granite rocks. I forgot to pack my watercolour paper and all I had was a tiny journal with me so I used gouache for this sketch.
I’d finished my painting but Zoe was still working on hers so I sketched her still working.
During the week I had a mini class on portraits. I demonstrated the basic proportions and features using a reference photo from Sktchyapp. This is an excellent free app available for iPhone and iPad, with thousands of portrait reference photos to use for inspiration. Some not so good but there are excellent ones there too. Unfortunately it’s not available to android devices.
Each week on Sktchyapp there are a few challenges and prompts such as #quickdraw and #monday muse. The Monday muse last week loves the colour green so I grabbed a paint swatch from the hardware store and used that to sketch her for the QuickDraw
You should know by now that I’ll sketch or paint on anything. While I was taking out the recycling papers and boxes I liked the look of the inside of a coffee box and thought it would be fun to draw on. I did another QuickDraw with a Pentel brushpen and seldom used oil pastels.
It’s all good practise for my pet portrait commissions. Here is another practise …. in my journal this time 😀 This is Tiger.
I am now doing custom paintings and if you would like a personalised portrait of loved pet or person, you can find further information on my Pets portrait page here.