Today I practiced some very basic mint math. You know, if you have four mints and you eat one…
It took some doing but I finished the painting I was working on in my last post (here). I’ve titled it “A Novel Morning”. It is 24 inches by 18 inches – acrylic and gouache on board.
The text in the painting was paraphrased from Dona Leon’s book “Death at La Fenice” – the first book in her Commissario Brunetti series. I adjusted the text for artistic reasons too numerous to write about in detail here – mainly because I’m lazy about typing words in a row – the gist being that I wanted to convey visually what I find alluring in Leon’s novelistic work; i.e. I love the food connection.
And I included the Powell’s bookstore receipt in the painting because one of my favorite things to do is go to a local bookstore, find a new-to-me novel, visit the in-bookstore coffee shop and consider the author/book carefully. That’s my idea of heaven.
I’ve just finished making an ebook – 34 pages derived from my hand drawn, hand written, sketchbook on the topic of cats. It’s titled “Various Cat Sketches by Sue Clancy” – and can be found here on my Art Ebook Shop page. Warts, scribbles, mistakes and all have been included – so you can see how my mind works – and for your amusement. I worked in ink, watercolor and gouache. In this post are a few pages from the ebook. Enjoy!
Around the edges of working on cat portraits I’ve still been working with gouache. Specifically I’ve been testing it in my bound sketchbooks. Here are several pages, created with gouache and ink, in my current “kitchen sketchbook”. I have a series of kitchen sketchbooks, they are all small, around 3 by 5 inches, and I give each book a silly name. These books contain drawings of a recipe I was then-currently cooking – or a depiction of something I was drinking and eating. The following pages are from my “Mouthpiece Four” kitchen sketchbook. I have ambitions of publishing these sketchbooks… but that’s another blog post topic.
Here’s “Mandolin Man”, a piece I finished that tests my new red gouache color. On the musicians neck strap you can most clearly see the new red I’d mentioned in my last post. I also used the red as a “mixer” in the brown of the Labrador fur – so it’s more of a dark red brown. I also played with the opaqueness of the gouache – and tried to leave some colors “transparent” in places too. I’m enjoying working in gouache. Of course “Mandolin Man” also has ink and color pencil (besides the gouache) and is on vintage sheet music.
I’ve been back to the art supply store recently – and have gotten a red gouache color I’m happier with! Check out my test swatches below…
The red on the top left, both in the book and on my palette, was the first red, the one I wasn’t happy with. It’ll be fine as a mixer for other things but I think I will like the new red better! It’s the one in the book on the top right – or the blob of color 2nd blob down on the left on my palette.
Now to try it out…
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!
The cookbook signing I did recently with Chef Kim Mahan went very well (cookbook info here) and then I took some days off. Which means that I read books and dabbled with a new-to-me art media – gouache.
You see my wife and I went with a fellow artist friend of ours, Donna Young, (www.donnayoung.com) to the Portland Art Museum to see The Wyeths: Three Generations. An exhibit of works by N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth and Harriet Wyeth. https://portlandartmuseum.org/
Naturally the three of us discussed the compositions of the works – and we discussed the art mediums each Wyeth used. Donna knew more about gouache than I did – and one of the things she said that it was less water-y than watercolor and not as plastic as acrylic. My curiosity was peaked.
After our day at the museum I looked up gouache and read of its ease-of-use in books about art mediums; I read of the application of gouache in bound sketchbooks but also its use when a painting/image is intended for reproduction.
I thought “Ah ha! This might be the solution for my problem of how to color my Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook”. I’ve been slowly working on a visual story titled “Time Tavern” but the paper in the sketchbook as it comes from the Brooklyn Art Library is so thin that I knew my usual methods of adding color, acrylic, watercolor and etc. mixed media would over power the paper. Just using color pencil didn’t feel as bold as I like to be so for some time now I’ve been pondering what to do to add color. (You can see my last post about that project here)
What Donna said about gouache, and my subsequent readings about it, made me think it might be an option for me. So I went to a local art supply store where I got some Holbien Artist Gouache. Here below is a pic of the colors I got, my palette set-up and the color notes I made.
I also generally scribbled with my brushes dipped in each of my new gouache colors on various pieces of paper – some thick, others thin. First tentative color marks make me very hopeful…. oh my gosh, I think I may like gouache!