While we are under the Coronavirus stay-at-home order, I have been making small experimental paintings. I began this one by making random marks with gray ink and wax medium on slick Bristol paper. I added the color with gouache and the gouache beaded up on the areas that had been waxed. Some areas in the center have multiple coats of wax and gouache and that is what gives it a marbled look.
When we can paint outside again, this technique may turn out to be useful for showing the textures in materials like night skies, pebbles, boulders, and foliage.
Yesterday, our Tuesday night Zoom model dressed in an old fashioned blue gown and held a lace parasol. She told us she was going to do a haughty pose, to go along with the outfit. I think I caught more of a reflective look mixed with a tinge of regret.
Even more difficult than the expression, was the parasol. By the time I finished the Zoom session yesterday, it was a big mess. I spent a lot of time today trying different marks to make it look like lace. I ended up drawing over the gouache areas with gray ink.
The poinsettia plant seems to keep its leaves and flowers a long time, a fact I appreciated very much when I went to paint it.
I wanted to make an abstract background to contrast with the orderly array of red leaves. Instead of using gouache, as I had for the plant, I rubbed white pastels into the paper and then painted over it with clear gesso, which caused it to blend in. I like the way it turned out.
We continue to stay home under Southern California’s stay at home order. I miss getting out to paint but am staying busy doing small intuitive sketches in my notebook.
This one is modeled on the work of Stan Kurth. Oversimplifying his process, he starts by placing random ink marks and watercolor areas on a page, without paying much attention to the transient marks he makes as he goes. Then, with gouache, he covers up most of the marks he already made until some interesting shapes emerge. I love the gradation that he gets in his gouache areas, and the mystery in his paintings.
I began this one with lots of ovals, straight lines, and yellow watercolor and then covered up most of the line work with the gouache. These two characters appeared at some point and I kind of like them.
My hope is that these exercises will make my brushwork more interesting when I do get back out in the field.
As usual, I sketched on Zoom with the Fresno group this Tuesday evening. The model was great, he dug up a costume from the 70’s that included bell bottoms and platform shoes. It was so authentic that at one point someone put on the BeeGees for background music.
Despite the great outfit, my first sketch was tight and awkward, so I abandoned it and started this second one. I focused only on his face, made some lines with red pastel chalk, and liked how the lines contrasted with the pink face.