Oil Portraiture, Part 2

Time to paint up from the grisaille! (see Oil Portraiture, Part 1). Thin layers of oil mixed with medium (I used Galkyd to speed up drying) were glazed on, color by color. If you were following along on my instagram or twitter, you know this part was agony for me. I’m really glad I didn’t give in to my urges to scrape the whole project and paint as I usually do (thickly with visible, moving brushstrokes) because I am so pleased with the luminosity this old master approach achieved! Hey, those guys knew what they were doing. And it’s supposed to get better with age.

Here’s how it looked as I completed each glaze, day by day. I was only able to work on it for 20 minutes or less a day because of my busy schedule these past two weeks. I’m calling it finished now or else I’d spend ages fidgeting with it, and I want to move on to my next experiment– painting a portrait with Zorn’s palette!


Oil Portraiture, Part 1

I learned to paint from impressionists, alla prima style (wet on wet), but I have always longed to capture the luminous look of classical portraits you see in the art museum. I started researching that older style of painting, working up slowly with glazes, and I started my first attempt last week.

This grisaille oil painting of my daughter is the underpainting.

Here’s the first pencil sketch, a study to work out the values. Then slowly building up the grisaille.

Once the grisaille underpainting is completely dry, I’ll begin Part 2, glazing color.

Fraidy Cat Garbage

Since I am running out of money in my art supply budget all about reusing trash to reduce my carbon footprint, I am experimenting with different materials for illustration. Today I tried

  1. Painting on a brown paper bag:


I love painting on neutral toned surfaces, so this was great. The paper is, naturally, incredibly thin and prone to wrinkles, but I like texture and would definitely consider using this to illustrate a future project, or just for doodling.


2. Painting on a gessoed wood panel:


I love this because you can really build up some texture with the gesso. The watercolor will not absorb into the gesso, however, so you really can’t glaze. Still, it’s a fun option.


3. Painting on gessoed paperboard (yesterday’s box of mac and cheese!):


Same thing with the gessoed wood panel– the watercolor just rests on top. It’s free and easy though, so I will definitely use it a lot in the future.

4. Painting on canvas


Very soft background. A teeny tiny bit of glazing is possible. And canvas can handle a lot of texture build-up. But this wasn’t my favorite, and I probably won’t try anything more with it for a while. (I have a LOT of canvases that can be gessoed over, which is why canvas falls under “garbage” here!)

Catalogue for Paper Dolls, Items 50 and 51

Outfits from Anne of Green Gables

The horrible yellow-gray wincey dress fro the orphanage:

“Matthew was not looking at her and would not have seen what she was really like if he had been, but an ordinary observer would have seen this: A child of about eleven, garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish-gray wincey. She wore a faded brown sailor hat and beneath the hat, extending down her back, were two braids of very thick, decidedly red hair. Her face was small, white and thin, also much freckled; her mouth was large and so were her eyes, which looked green in some lights and moods and gray in others.”

– Anne of Green Gables, Ch. 2, “Matthew is Surprised”


The pretty brown gloria with puffed sleeves from Matthew:

“Anne took the dress and looked at it in reverent silence. Oh, how pretty it was – a lovely soft brown gloria with all the gloss of silk; a skirt with dainty frills and shirrings; a waist elaborately pintucked in the most fashionable way, with a little ruffle of flimsy lace at the neck. But the sleeves – they were the crowning glory! Long elbow cuffs, and above them two beautiful puffs divided by rows of shirring and bows of brown-silk ribbon.”
– Anne of Green Gables, Ch. 25, “Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves”
(Prints of these and other outfits are available at my Society6 shop.)

Rainbow Girl

My daughter, who is now 7, invented a character this summer called “Rainbow Girl.” Here is her original painting:



Naturally, I loved it. My daughter is a genius, and I just had to steal her idea and illustrate my own version of Rainbow Girl. My daughter is also very business-minded, though, and she tells me that because she “technically” invented the character, she wants credit on every Rainbow Girl illustration I make as well a percentage of any future profits. So.

Here’s MY rainbow girl, demonstrating poor computering posture and untangling her snarly beams (Note my daughter’s signature on the second one)



As weird as this character is, she is fun to illustrate so I will probably keep making her, if only to delight my daughter.



Action: Page turning

A page from the Kindergarten book. Here, the kids are falling all over the pages after their teacher turns the page “too fast.” I think they’ll have fun telling the teacher to turn the page more slowly, etc. Basically, kindergartners like being bossy. That’s right, I said it!


The print I ordered from society6 for my daughter’s teacher arrived yesterday and it came out so well! Very true to color and the paper is so nice.

Sketchbook 8/27/14

I volunteer once a week with my daughter’s kindergarten class. The kids are so much fun! I want to write down everything they say. I try to memorize as much as I can and then I jot it in my journal the second I am done. I wish I could bring my sketchbook with me, but I can only sketch afterwards. I hope to have a sketch done of each kid so I can hand them out at the end of the year. I usually stay for lunch, so maybe I will do a short story based on their lunchtime antics for them, too!


Here’s a sketch of one little girl



Dinosaur Roommate Forever

During my freshman year of college, my friends and I often entertained ourselves with the question: What if your assigned dormmate was a dinosaur? The idea was conceived as a low budget public access television show. It’s been almost 14 years and I am still thinking about it. I love Dinosaur Roommate and I love my crazy/brilliant/creative friends. You guys are geniuses and I’m proud to know you. Here’s my cut-paper comic take on the idea. I’d love to continue this as a series. Dinosaurs are fun!


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