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The Usual Suspects: Gouache, Geese, Decorative Paper

November 13, 2011

111109CanadaGoose

Above: Head study of a Canada Goose in my 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia in-studio journal. (Right edge of spread cropped about 3/8" in the scanning.) Read more below.

After a day of seeing gallery exhibits of more design then one should consume on any given day (but probably less design than one gets in the constant flood of actual life exposure if one were to add it up) I needed to draw something and the default these days is studies for some bird paintings I want to do.

I came into the studio, threw some photos of Canada Geese I'd taken at one of the city lakes up onto the screen and sketched. My Pentel Pocket Brush Pen was pretty much empty so I ended up with a dry brush sketch. I wish I'd taken a photo of it because it was interestingly vague on values but fun with line, especially when I went in with the calligraphy pen in some areas. I was left with a hybrid drawing.

I thought it was too late to get the paints out so I cut up some paper. I put a thin strip of red paper near the gutter at the bottom of the spread first. Then I added the other pieces trimmed to fit the drawing "loosely." (By that I mean I was totally OK with white showing and with crooked pasting.)

I left the whole thing under a weight to dry.

And then I decided to paint after all. I began with cobalt blue and because it didn't go with the red papers at all I worked my way back to red. (All Schmincke and M. Graham brands of gouache. I started with a very stiff 1/2 inch filbert and then moved into using a no. 10 synthetic blend round.)

Here's the thing: I may not always be happy with the result, I may wonder what would have happened if I had gone with a different selection of colors (and of course I can try that out any time), and I often wish I'd taken photos at each step so I could look back and compare them all at the end (I do this when I'm making a finished painting but don't always have the camera handy when I'm sketching)—but I never, ever regret getting the paint out.

  1. Reply

    I like the drips of cobalt you left at the top of the goose’s neck…

    “…but I never, ever regret getting the paint out.”

    Me, too. I was very slow to learn this, but nothing is wasted.

  2. Reply

    Thanks Lisa, I like those drippy bits too. I’d like the bill to be a bit thicker at the base and less seemingly pointed,but I just didn’t want to fuss more there. I’m still working with the cobalt blue but I’m not totally won over.
    But I learn something every time!
    Roz

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