Left: A monochromatic study using Burnt Sienna, Indanthrene Blue, and Titanium Schmincke Horadam Gouache. Working from an "antique" school photo. Study is about 2 x 4 inches on Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper (hardbound book from Strathmore). The whole 8.5 x 11 or so inch page is shown here. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
While I've been doing a lot of loose and goofy looking portraits these days I've also been working on some tighter portraits as monochromatic gouache studies.
I think I put it down to sometimes you "feel like a nut, sometimes you don't," candy slogan. (Mounds and Almond Joy bars.)
I have been trying to come up with a way to work on portraits in life drawing, something that focuses me on the values I see.
Here I worked from a 1.5 x 2.5 inch yearbook photo and played with going back and forth with the different values after first doing a very light pencil sketch with very little detail, i.e., circles where the eye and nose are to go, ear position, head height. I got a little elongated in the head, but I really like what I did with that collar.
Afterwards I tried this particular technique in life drawing and ended up starting on too dark a surface. I never reached the right values. Also scaling up to fill an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet really didn't work for me—it added too much time to both laying in an area of value and dealing with drying time before I could go on to the next area or layer. I see many more experiments with this in my future.
After over a year away from painting (I don't count the quick sketches I do with watercolor or gouache and a Niji waterbrush) I'm having an "interesting time" becoming accustomed to the right mix of water on my brush again.