Some quick watercolor sketches done on scraps of previously painted paper, done between 4 and 5 am this week. I like them!
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!
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.
(To see more, follow my instagram @nicolesmeltzer)
Not very many this time… I’ve been sick with the flu. Here’s what I managed:
Watercolor sketches of little things
My friend’s son, the moment before he splashes mud everywhere.
Two quickly painted watercolors where I allowed myself minimal drying time and painted with one oversized brush to get a very loose, painterly feel. The top one is a doodle of my daughter and her puppy-love, and the bottom one is a doodle of the raccoon who begged to be let onto my screened patio last night during the storm. (I said no, but it was hard. He was incredibly cute.)
A quick morning sketch of a crow in watercolor. Every morning when I walk my daughter to school, I see a whole murder of crows playing. They look like they have so much fun. It’s my dear ambition to befriend one.
Some cropped images of science illustrations in watercolor I have been doing for my scientist friends.
My daughter and I are really into narwhals right now. We read about them, we sculpted them, we painted them. Here’s my latest little watercolor sketch of baby narwhals:
Did you know that female narwhals don’t have the horn? That is so unfair.
Gifts for my daughter’s teacher, illustrated portraits of the class pets, Izzy the hedgehog and Brutus the bearded dragon:
Breaking News: We draw dinosaurs like this now!
I love these little waving starfish leaves all over my driveway. Painted this morning:
Don’t even try to understand the ways of The Universe.
Here are some superhero outfits re-imagined as pantsuits
The Crimson Avenger, Jill Caryle
The Invisible Woman, Sue Storm
She-Ra, Princess of Power
Wonder Woman, Diana Prince
Supergirl, Kara Zor-El
Merricat’s outfit at the end of Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle.” A tablecloth Constance cut a hole in for her head, tied with the gold cord from the draperies, her mother’s old, brown shoes. We are so happy.
Those ducks are my favorite thing.
All the inks I inked, plus some grumpy ducks
A few Inktober sketches
And the results of some texture experiments on different surfaces
When you hate your friend’s new beefriend.
Here are some recent diagrams I have painted on garbage with gouache and watercolor. It’s upcycled art!
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
- 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!)