Testing, Testing, Testing: Ending the Week with another Portrait

June 24, 2016


Above: Graphite and watercolor sketch of a friend in a test journal—Seawhite of Brighton, approx. 8 inches square.

During times of stress I tend to come up with personal projects that “rivet” my attention. Formalizing International Fake Journal Month to always fall in April in 2000 is one such example.

Currently I’ve found that when the stress gets laid on I start testing—materials, paints, commercially made journals.

I realize that if I didn’t have an injured shoulder that I would be making books. A whole slew of books. I mean so many books that if we didn’t already have a storage problem we would have one. I mean a huge number of books. I think you get the idea. Bookbinding engages my mind and my hands; engages also that “oh, I’m about to get a present” enthusiasm when I pull the dried book from beneath weights; and gives into to all my productive impulses because the impact of a couple days of book binding is quickly visible in the resultant stacks of books piling up.

160602_Don-OnlyDETAILLeft: Detail from the above image—I used a 2B mechanical pencil and Daniel Smith watercolors.

For now, however, I’ve been testing commercially bound journals and sketchbooks. I’ll have more to say about this Seawhite—including how I located one (because I think it’s a funny story)—in a future post when I’m further along in the book. (It’s pretty thick so I’ll probably review it before I fill it completely).

Meanwhile I wanted to show you the other aspect of my current portrait drawing practice. Keeping with the fun of 2016 International Fake Journal Month when I drew in graphite and painted on watercolor board (sometimes I drew with brush pen) I’ve been doing graphite and watercolor portraits.

On this lightweight, ultra smooth paper you’ll see in the images included in this post, the painting, a detail from the painting, and also the full page spread where I write some notes. For this portrait I was working from a photograph as my friend was not available and I needed to sketch something right away—see the first paragraph of this post.

I hope you have a stress-free weekend and get a lot of sketching in. I’ll be back with you next week with more paintings and thoughts on…?

Below: Full page spread showing also my notes page. (Cool color cast on the verso page comes from the almost completely blue-page painting on the flip side of the page. This is a lightweight paper.)


    • Cathy Inzer
    • June 24, 2016

    I am sorry that you are going through a time of stress, but glad that you have your art to go through it with you! Good reminder for me too, when I am under stress to pick up a pen, paintbrush or pencil!

  1. Reply

    Thanks Cathy. I mention it in the hopes that I will remind people to pick up a pen (or other drawing/painting tool) when stressed. So I’m really glad the post had the desired result!

  2. Reply

    We are all hanging in there Susan. Phyllis actually ditched all of us to go to a concert yesterday and we are all totally OK with that!

    I’m continuing to explore moving away from ink lines in my watercolors. We’ll see…It is very fun to look at the values and not have strident lines interrupting.

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