It's 2013 and if you read this blog regularly you know I like to do a little bit of all my favorite things on New Year's Day, to set the tone for the rest of the year.
You can read about my New Year's Day Ritual here.
Today, as an addition to my ritual I am encouraging you to work with gouache.
While working through the 6-1/8 x 9-1/2 inch Fabriano Venezia Journal I wrote about last week I of course did some bird studies, because of course birds are something I love as well. Today's image is a quick color sketch I did from photos taken of a conure. (When I went to give my gouache demo at Wet Paint at the end of November I walked in and found TJ sitting on her owner's head. TJ's owner is a frequent visitor to Wet Paint and I've been happy to see her there many times when I've been visiting.)
I wanted to create that zigzag line on the left side of the bird (viewer's left) so I knew I would skate close to the gutter with the eye, but I think it manages to work because I spent some time adding detail to the beak and I think the weight of the beak pulls you out of the gutter. (I think it's an interesting angle on the bird that I will probably do a flat painting of as well, sometime in the new year.)
I've included a detail of a portion of the image so that I can point out what are fun bits for me. Look at the top left of the detail image. See the thin streaks of dark red/orange? Those are made with a round Niji brush that I pinched flat and squeezed relatively dry. I stroked into the still slightly wet red-orange and dragged it into the yellow of the forehead.
Around the beak there is some fuzzy dry-brushed "black" over the red/orange. I don't use black paint. That's a mix of PB60 and Burnt Sienna. After painting the beak, while it was still moist I pushed the dark paint out over the red/orange paint (which was dry) with my finger.
At the bottom right of the beak there are red orange strokes pulled into the beak. Those were stroked over a dry beak From the red/orange area (I had added a bit of fresh red/orange paint right in that area). I deliberately let my brush pick up some of the blue paint so that it would also contaminate the red/orange and create some fuzziness.
Color sketches are a great time for playing with your paint and working out approaches that you want to use in your final painting.
I hope you'll make some time in your New Year's Day Ritual to have some fun with gouache. (That's what I'm up to right now, because I loaded this post in advance so I'd have painting time!)
Have a great 2013. Thanks for reading the blog and staying in touch. Put your intentions into action today.