Above: A page spread from an 11 x 14 inch Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media hardbound journal. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen Sketch and DaVinci Gouache. I used a large filbert (about an inch wide) and a smaller filbert, about 3/8 inch wide) to paint all the strokes here. The image is too large to scan so I put it on the floor and photographed it. The light is a little odd and she looks more orange than she is. (It's Angela Lansbury—I'm still watching Perry Mason, but I needed some "comfort food" viewing and have been watching a little bit of "Murder She Wrote." I stopped to action to sketch this view. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I've mentioned before that my sketches have been getting larger and larger. It's that "Piecemeal Style" I've been working in. I just keep adding paper extensions as the drawing grows out of the paper size.
I decided that for my next journal I'd get the biggest one possible, which had paper that I liked. Making a journal this large would be costly because I'd have to waste a lot of paper to get this trim size with some sheets of paper. While I could use a 22 x 30 inch sheet with the grain running with the 30 inch length and get two pieces that were 22 x 15 and would fold with the grain to 11 x 15 it would mean I'd only get two pieces per sheet. I'd need 4 per signature which means I'd need two full sheets of paper per signature and with paper that size running about $4 or more a sheet it gets expensive quickly. Anyway, I don't enjoy binding books that large and since Strathmore already makes a lovely hardbound book with their Strathmore 500 series Mixed Media paper, I don't have to. (I wouldn't have had any place to bind it either as my worktable is stacked with stuff related to what's going on in the folks' lives right now.) So I went to Wet Paint and purchased one and got busy.
Left: Here's a detail view of one portion of the sketch. You can see thin and thicker applications of paint. And you can also see how I'm allowing my white brush to pick up other color when I'm moving around the face. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Opening this post is the last painting I made with DaVinci gouache. You can read about my final problems with DaVinci gouache here, and find links to my original reviews of it here. Today's image is actually the painting I did on the back of the Michael Kitchen painting, which caused that painting to start to redissolve!
I also wrote about my decision to not use DaVinci Gouache any more over on Artist's Journal Workshop. I did in fact talk to the grandmother and art mentor to my favorite 8-year-old and she thought he could have fun with the paint so it was packed up and sent to him. She knows the best ways to approach it so it won't put him off painting, but she knows he shouldn't use it in his journals (yes he has journals and goes landscape sketching with his grandmother).
But all this is background. I wanted to write today about playing with paint, pushing it around, which you can do even if the paint isn't your favorite!
As you can see in the details of the image I'm having a lot of fun quickly pushing paint around. There are thin underlying passages of paint that I worked in quickly and let dry (usually) before bringing in heavier paint. (You can work on other areas of the painting while a particular area dries.) There are layers of heavier paint smoothed in with other layers of paint, and there are layers of paint stroked on top of everything with a dry brush.
This was all done very quickly with an attitude of play and "what can I notice?" I didn't worry about smoothing edges or hiding my brush strokes. I love seeing my brush strokes when I do this. They leave a trail that shows me how I was thinking at the moment.
I hope you have some time to play with paint this weekend, regardless of the type of paint you're using. I also hope that at least for one sketch you can let yourself go and not worry about your dirty brush (interesting things can happen) and not worry about making a perfect picture. Just work as hard as you can with your full attention, and ask yourself: "What can I notice?"
What can I notice about: the paint, the water amount needed (if the paint is watersoluble) in the brush or the paint; the paper, it's ability to take water, the length of time it takes to dry, the point at which I can add more paint to the paper (when I want to blend, when I want to cover, when I want to cover with a dry-brush effect on the final stroke; how dry paint has to be before I can go over it and not pick it up, pick it up slightly, be able to blend it smoothly (and how does the paper and paint on the paper look at each of those moments); what types of brushes make the types of strokes I want, how did I angle the brush to get that stroke; how can I make this form move away from me and look dimensional; how dark is this value; can I hide this pen line; do I want to hide this pen line; do I want to work in pencil because it will be easier to hide my lines; what works and what doesn't work; what do I want to try again; how does working large help or hinder me?
You get the idea. Have a fun weekend sketching and painting.