Trawling the internet, looking for an image for watercolour practice, I came upon a black and white photo with a 60s vibe. It was a good opportunity to have freedom over colour choices without feeling the need to obey colour prompts from the source photo. As you can see, I drew pencil guidelines first, to alleviate the worry of trying to get proportion right in paint. Once again, employing my favourite round brush, I used the pigment still in my palette from a previous portrait. This meant I kept to a handful of colours, mixing happily to get that pistachio.
It’s easy to see where things went well and fluidly, and where the struggles were. I really like the spontaneity, looseness and colour flows of the legs and umbrella, but wish I’d had an easier time with the face. The umbrella handle was lifted out afterwards with a small flat brush, as I forgot to leave it white, but actually I don’t mind, as it’s less stark than it would have been if I’d left the paper blank. All in all, this was a good session.
Another quick portrait of one of the lovely yoga ladies, this one a bit of a struggle as I was trying to be freer with the paint and strokes of the flat brush. However, I did have fun with her glasses, and the raspberry hue of that snuggly jacket. I like the warmth it gives to the whole.
It turns out that teeth are surprisingly difficult, a fact I’m sure anyone who’s experienced at painting portraits could have told me. I’ll have to remember that, and find some strategies for dealing with them.
I was given some new Staedtler fineliners in a range of lovely colours – first quick test out was to see how they worked together without water (they are water-soluble). What better than the kitchen windowsill? And yes, those are hyacinths, which look a bit worse for wear.
The pens were very nice to use (I restricted myself to just three colours here, don’t want to have too much fun all at once) – precise, and just the tiniest amount of solubility with each other, which I quite enjoyed. Yes, I think they will find a place in my art bag – I’ll squeeze them in somehow!
It’s half term, and I’ve determined to make the most of sketching opportunities and also to get in a bit of much-needed watercolour practice.
Following on from my previous head sketches, here’s one taken from the portrait photo archive the yoga ladies sweetly let me make.
This one’s A5 size, and I used the following colours: Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Indigo and Payne’s Grey – the aim was to try restricting the palette and see where it got me. That, combined with a 1/2 inch flat brush proved just about sufficient.
Well, for all its faults, I quite like this one; the warmth of the colours, the tranquil look in her eye (post-yoga) and the lights on her hair.
I was astonished by the depth of brown I needed to make to show her fair skin, and relieved I managed to avoid the 5 o’clock shadow effect this time. When painting the background I forgot to leave space for the hair on the right hand side of the picture near her cheek, and so ended up lifting it out – but it worked, thank goodness.
As always, much was learned.
Another bit of watercolour portrait practice, this time from a photo of a chap very dramatically lit. I liked the complexity of his wrinkles and bags, and the slight furtiveness of his stare.
Once again, I know I didn’t spend long enough sketching out the features, wanting to get started on the painting, which was what this was all about for me. So the ‘second eye’ syndrome has struck. But not to worry.
Handling the different textures of hair and skin, was the focus. The dry brushwork came much easier working with tube colour rather than pans, and offered some pleasingly crunchy texture round the edges.
Using dark Indigo, Payne’s Grey (always) and a dark red seemed a little daunting, but is a decision I’m pleased I took. In fact, I wish I’d used a soupçon more of the red. It made a beautiful warm brown and added interesting highlights when unmixed. Maybe next time.
Watercolour practice, long time no see. I didn’t spend long getting the features right (as shows) because I was itching to get into the watercolour. I’ve been looking at Stan Miller’s videos again, and wanted to have a go at something quite dramatic and graphical.
I stuck to just three colours – two blues and a purple – and really enjoyed the process of spilling them into each other. Tubes were my friend here, to achieve the rich darks. I just don’t get this kind of result with pans, which seem to need too much water and lose their intensity.
Can’t believe I’ve left it so long…
My son’s new DMs, immortalised in lino while I was introducing Andy, my art buddy, to the joys of lino printing.
There were a couple of challenges with these; firstly, how to deal with the background when you have a fairly solid black object to contrast with. I thought originally that I was going to leave the background white, but when it came to it couldn’t resist putting in some texture. I’m glad I did.
Secondly, the writing on the tabs. I draw directly onto my lino, rather than using the transfer method, so it was a case of reversing the letters, to give a suggestion of writing but without trying to make them look too accurate. Not too bad a result, considering.
I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t quite get the shoe shape right – should have used a mirror before printing to check that everything was looking as it ought. And as you can see, a little piece of scrap lino got caught in the ink and raised the print in one place. I must remember to be tidier with my brushing off before inking.
But never mind, I like this one – live and learn.