Gouache in the Seawhite of Brighton Journal

October 17, 2016

Left: 8 x 8 inch pen and gouache sketch in a Seawhite Sketchbook of the same size. Under sketch is done in orange and red Uni Posca extra bold tipped paint pens. (The tips are about 1/4 inch wide chisel tips.) The sketch was then refined with a Platinum Carbon Black solid felt tip brush pen (You can still see pen lines around the eyes). I then painted with Schmincke gouache using colors I had out on the palette.

Before I left the series (for now) of working on learning the shape of my friend's face I thought it would be fun to include this fun distorted image. It's hard to find models who are so secure they can really pull faces!

160622-DW-gouache-scrunchRightCRBRBLeft: Detail in which you can see the pen lines under the gouache.

I also wanted to post this image because I had a lot of fun working with gouache on this paper. It seems like a lightweight paper (and it is compared to many that I use) but it is a hardy paper. As you've seen in other examples from this book you can work with multiple layers of watercolor on it. As you can here you can work, and even rework with gouache on this paper. The paper will buckle slightly when you paint on it with gouache, but if you control your water it won't get out of hand, and it is easily flattened for scanning. 

See my other posts on this commercially made journal/sketchbook for information on how it is structured and how it holds up to other media. I will have a couple more posts on it containing review items coming up.

UPDATE: 10.18.16, 10:50 a.m. Paul's comment below made me wonder if I had any in-process photos of this sketch. Sometimes I take a photo at each "stage" as I'm working. So I looked and found the following photo.

This was shot with no consideration for light. I forgot that I put brush lines in so quickly. And then played with corrections in not only orange but gray Uni Posca.

David_Scruch_UndersketchCRBR-04845Left: The light washes of orange were laid in before the gray correction lines were in. Looking at the quick brush pen sketch I could see my proportions were off and actually thought about stopping because I thought the eyes were too big. Actually the eyes, nose, and upper lip were the only things that remained constant. I saw as I played with the gray marked that I need to lengthen the face to get the proportions to work. Look particularly at how far I drop the chin with orange marker that I stated again after the gray. Follow the jaw line down from the ears. I don't have a photo of the next phase where I went in with the red marker to restate some things (hairline, base of ear), because I went right into painting. This happens a lot. I intend to take photos because something isn't working and I want to have a record of what went on so I can learn from it in retrospect, but when things start to click and I see the way forward and I forget to stop and take a photo. What is very interesting to me is that the eyes, nose, and upper lip were the only things that didn't change from the moment I put them down (except I did change the direction of the gaze in my final painting of the irises and pupils).   

    • Paul
    • October 17, 2016

    I was just reading about warm underpainting in Gurney’s book on “Color and Light”. Here you have a perfectly ghoulish example of how those warm undertones that peak through make the blues and purples that much richer by complementary contrast, well done (although I’m not sure your subject would agree :-)? Thanks for another great lesson!

  1. Reply

    Paul, as much as I would love to take credit for putting a warm under-sketch beneath all this it’s simply that I grabbed the orange paint pen because I’ve been using it a lot for sketching lately and it’s a color I can hide with other paints as I go forward, but which still has enough of a dark value that I can see it. But yet when I go into the sketch to refine with the black pen it doesn’t conflict with the black pen—the way red does (which reads as black because of its dark value, and was only used/tested in a couple places in this sketch—see top of forehead near hair line where red is still visible. Other red here is at the base of the ears but rest of red is gouache later).

    And the colors I worked in on top were what was left on the palette and my concern was value. But of course these lavender-making colors would be what’s left on my palette. So it’s really a lesson for me in what works or doesn’t work for my under-sketch. And what works for quick painting.

    For me the addition of red gouache at the end for value and quickness of decision was the learning point.

    Remember that while orange complements certain blues it isn’t a complement to purples and there are a lot of lavenders here. (Triad orange, purple, green; definitely not in action here.)

    After I scanned this I made a print of it and I have framed it and put it up on the studio wall above my drawing table with some other portraits, to remind myself in what direction I want to go. Everything is torn up right now and I can’t wait to get on with the next project!

    I am so glad you are enjoying Gurney’s book “Color and Light” which I think is excellent!

    And my friend has accepted prints of this piece so it’s at least a curiosity for him. He is a great sport! He is an extremely good looking man and it has always been a challenge for me to capture beauty. Happily there is some quirkiness to his features and so it is no surprise to me that my favorite portrait of him so far is this one which is so distorted. There’s a reason I am always finding people with interesting hair, ears, and noses to sketch. Beauty brings all that symmetricality (sp?) of features into play and I typically don’t have the patience for that.

  2. Reply

    Paul, go back and view the post because I added another image from the sketching phase which you will find interesting.

    • Paul
    • October 18, 2016

    Wow! Thanks for this Roz. The “orange” lines looked closer to a Terracotta color when viewed on my cell phone (and to my eyes). Interesting to see your process in this case. Amazing for me to see how many adjustments and manipulations you can do under an opaque media like gouache. Great idea to take progression photos as a self learning tool. Soooo…much to learn!

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