A profile sketch in the local cafe, inked on site, colour added later, mostly wet-in-wet watercolour technique.
Sketches from the last of the Black Swan Prize free portrait painting sessions with model Cougar Morrison.in a neon green leopard print dress with bling accessories and red hair, she was quite a challenge to sketch. The glittery lipstick and eye-shadow were impossible to capture with watercolour but it was a really fun and interesting portrait attempt. The top sketch is my second one of the session (size A6) and is better capture of features and expression, the lower sketch was drawn first and larger (A4) and is less fluid…. I was still finding my way around features and models are often more tense in the first hour….it takes time for both artist and model to relax, to really see the facial landmarks and expressions….only two hours is a very short time to get a likeness but I’m happy with my attempts…always learning.
The Black Swan Prize are organising three live portrait challenges – a model is provided (and shade gazebo), anyone can join in, you have two hours to paint or draw in what ever medium you like…..This week it was Grace Barbé and beautiful singer originally from the Seychelles. Grace was wearing a gorgeous green patterned shirt and lots of colourful jewellery so I got a bit carried away with the greens in the shadows, but it was great to have a go at painting her….TWSBI Eco fountain pen with EF fude nib, De Atramentis document Urban Grey ink, various watercolours with Pentel and Kuretake waterbrushes on Winsor and Newton heavyweight cartridge sketchbook.
I’ve been tinkering with a very limited 6 colour palette for quick and secretive sketches….in a cafe I like to add colour if I can but sometimes don’t want to draw attention by unfolding a larger palette. That’s where the “mini” palette comes out to play, the tin cost about $4 and the lid and base were already coated with enamel paint so I just put a couple of strips of blue tack on the base. The tin only holds 6 half-pans and is small enough to fit in the palm of my hand….the below sketch is on an A6 notebook which hides inside my fauxdori, combined with a small waterbrush I can happily paint…. Colours I have below are: Hansa yellow medium, Burnt sienna, Permanent rose, Winsor red, Pthalo blue (green shade) & Ultramarine blue. The sketch was drawn with my TWSBI Eco fountain pen and EF fude nib in De Atramentis document black ink.
Sketching people in cafes is one of my favourite things to do….a good coffee, read the newspaper then find someone else doing the same and sketch them very quickly without them noticing. I draw directly in ink without pencil under-drawing for two reasons….Firstly because an under-drawing adds extra time (which I don’t have)….. Secondly because drawing directly with ink forces me to look really closely to the subject before putting ink on the page….with waterproof ink I’m totally committed to each line (I do make mistakes but they are either incorporated into the final picture or simply ignored – life is not perfect either). Before putting pen to paper I decide on the story I want to tell and develop a mental image of how I want the final sketch to look – the composition on the page – what will be included / how much / where to place things for maximum effect. I usually start drawing a person with the nearest eye and draw out from there, looking for connecting and intersecting lines – assessing the geometry of the face (drawing is a really about triangulation). The drawing on this probably took about 15 minutes, with about 20 minutes for watercolour – adding paint into already wet washes to get graded colour. As for the choice of subject (or victim!)…. anyone who has just sat down with a full cup (so I know they will be there for a little while). Interesting faces and expressions (some people get involved with the news articles and make lots of facial expressions when reading). The guy below had a lovely soft white beard and thinning hair on top that I wanted to try to capture…..