As I posted recently (here) I’ve been playing around with a new-to-me art media: gouache.
Here’s my process of learning a new art media:
- Read 3 or 4 different sources that describe how to work in the media. While I’m reading I’m looking for “basic best practices” as well as what the “chief virtues” or strengths of the medium art and whether it’s advertised virtues might meet my needs.
- I look at artworks by other artists that use the medium. It’s best if I can see the art in real life – but seeing reproductions online or in books is helpful too. I was lucky enough to get to see some real-life works using gouache at the Portland Art Museum (see my last post)
- Buy the best quality medium materials that I can find. I went with Holbien Artist Gouache. It’s a company that’s been around a while and the primary mixing gouache set I got for the initial test is professional quality. (I did not get the “Holbien Acryla Gouache” as it is more like acrylic and would not be helpful for my purposes)
- When I get new medium materials I do something with them as soon as I get them home. Even if all I do is put some paints on a palette and make a few marks. I find that the sooner I start the better my chances of developing a new habit/ability instead of having “something I always meant to try”.
- Then once I’ve dabbled a bit I’ll take a subject matter that I’ve done fairly well using other mediums. I use that subject for the first 3 or 4 times and render it as well as I can in the new medium. This way I can focus on the details, methods and possibilities of the new medium rather than thinking of subject matter too.
Here’s what I did with my new gouache set (the primary mixing set) plus a few extra colors I knew I’d need (since I draw a lot of animals I knew I needed browns).
I picked the sheet music because the paper is very thin and fragile – even more thin than the paper in my Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook. So I reasoned that if the paints worked fairly well on the sheet music then I’d be able to use them on other thin papers.
I picked Siamese cats as a subject because they’re, well, musical.
The result of my test? Oh my! I think I may be falling in love with gouache!
In my town and region I find a lot of cafes, pubs and bistros that have – for the lack of a better term – ledges as tables. These are swaths of 8 to 12 inch deep “tables”, just big enough to put a coffee cup with a saucer and perhaps a paperback book. Or they’re just large enough for a drink and a small plate of food.
Many of these ledges run along a wall and the edge of a room. Some ledges run down the center of a room and still others run along a window. The ledges vary in length according to the space – I’ve seen as many as 18 people sitting along one ledge – but the ledge is rarely deeper than 12 inches.
It’s especially interesting to walk on a busy street and pass by a window and there, inside the eatery, facing the sidewalk, a number of people sit reading, eating, drinking and talking to each other. I also find it fun to be one of the eatery patrons perched at the window and merely inches from the front of me and my 8 inches of ledge is the whole world passing by!
So I was thinking of such ledges today when I was drawing Burmilla cats. Burmilla’s have impossibly big eyes. All the better for watching the world go by from your cat-perch at your favorite ledge!
In my studies of cats recently I’ve learned that cats are often employed on winery and beer brewery premises – especially here in the Pacific Northwest. There are also several local bookstores and music instrument shops that have cat “staff” members too. So in support of working cats today here are two portraits I’ve just finished that are drying on my table (a Siamese and a Tabby).
I think I’ll call the piano player “Scarlatti” after Domenico Scarlatti, the Italian composer of “The Cat’s Fugue” (google it!). I’ll call my better-mousetrap-builder “Handy”.
I worked today on some British Shorthair cats. I picked this breed because I enjoy British comedy. Silly reason I know. Anyway drawing this breed of cat was a challenge. When is a British Shorthair not a Tabby? The shape of the head, ears…. so many nuances are different. I had to pay close attention to fine details of the breed – I did research – so I kept my overall-artwork composition similar and simple. I used Sumi Ink to do this practice with. Not sure I’ve ‘got it’ yet on drawing British Shorthairs so I’ll try again another day. Still as far as general-cat-art goes I’m pleased with my work. Now I’ll go make some dinner and see if I can talk my Sweetie into watching another British comedy with me.
During the evening of Oct 5 at Caplan Art Designs my exhibit titled “The Fur Suit Of Happiness” opens. There are some cats in this one. Lots of dogs too… but I’m working towards a new book of cat-art….and I’ll resume that work after this exhibit opening.
Anyway, here are a few of the new cats that are framed and displayed in the exhibit:
“Hobo” by Clancy (ink on handmade paper)
“Harold” by Sue Clancy (ink on handmade paper)
“Pete” by Clancy (ink on handmade paper)
“Siam” by Clancy (ink on handmade paper)
Today, after delivering one piece of artwork (see the last post here), I’m packing up 24 of my art pieces to be delivered to Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com . Oct 5th, First Thursday, during the evening is the opening of my new exhibit The Fur Suit Of Happiness.
Here’s a picture of some of the artworks ready to be loaded into the car. Yes, there are both dogs and cats in this exhibit!
Here’s the exhibit statement:
The Fur Suit Of Happiness by Clancy
What if being happy isn’t a fleeting feeling to pursue. What if happiness is something to accept? I’ve been watching dogs and cats. They seem to specialize in enjoying a patch of sunlight, a walk in the rain, a warm comfortable lap and a good dinner. They seem to accept and be happy with very small things. I can learn something from this. This exhibit is me taking notes.
I love fall and winter. I love sweaters, lap blankets and hot drinks. My favorite food to cook and eat is soup. So when I created this portrait of a Persian cat I imagined him with a bowl of warm soup…
This is Pete. Who likes good things to eat.
And when Pete has finished drying (his whiskers) I’ll start getting all of my recent cat art pieces framed for an upcoming art exhibit at Caplan Art Designs. www.caplanartdesigns.com
Today the Pacific Northwest sun has been dancing in and out around the clouds like a dancer at a folk music festival. Or like a cat singing for supper.
A Siamese cat and a black & white alley cat are on my work table…
It’s finally begun raining regularly here in the Pacific Northwest and I love it. Today the rainy cool air made me think of contentment and fur.
Here’s artwork of Persian cat that is drying on my worktable. The cat’s name is “Harold”.
Around the edges of writing a speech and getting ready for several major art-events I’ve begun to do some cat artworks. I’ll still be doing my dog art – don’t worry – I’m just adding cats to the mix. In 2018 I’m hoping to do a book of cats – much like my currently available book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
Here’s a couple of cat art pieces currently drying on my work table.