I’ve been practicing my watercolour. I think I am slowly improving. I still find it a very challenging medium to use. The hardest part for me is to let go and allow the watercolours to really do what they want to do. The looser I can let myself be the better the end results.
These two portraits I did straight after one another. They are both of a Russian model called Sofia Steinberg and the reference photos appeared in the Zara online catalogue. She has a really interestesting quirky look about her that I like. I say interesting and quirky my husband says “pissed off and bitchy”. Regardless I am a bit obsessed with her now… not in a weird stalky way … although I have tagged her in everything I put on Instagram (which by the way she NEVER acknowledges.. maybe she is bitchy?)
Since I am still a pretty shitty water-colourist I always go back to my colour pencils to “refine” things a little (okay a lot). For both of these portraits I used colour pencil for the facial features and to refine a few edges. I quite like the end results. I think the colour pencil give it a bit more “pop” than I could achieve with watercolour paints alone.
The Dries Van Noten show was one of my absolute favourites from the Fall 2019 runway shows. I am a bit of a sucker for a floral print especially when it’s not a sickly sweet one; “Flowers can be romantic, but this I wanted to take out, because the times are tougher than in the past. So you see the diseases, the black spot, the imperfections.”
Rub ‘n Buff Gold Leaf
Like a Bower Bird, I am attracted to all things sparkly. I picked up a tube of Rub’n Buff in my local art store a few months ago not really knowing what I would use it for. It comes in a 15ml tube in 12 metallic colours (Gold Leaf, Antique Gold, European Gold, Grecian Gold, Autumn Gold, Silver Leaf, Antique White, Pewter, Spanish Copper, Ebony, Ruby, Patina – which looks like it would be an amazing colour!). I have the colour “Gold Leaf”. I think technically it’s supposed to be used to add gold leaf to hard surfaces like timber. There are no real instructions of the tube just; ‘apply to most surfaces, polish with cloth. Clean with mineral spirits.’ ??????
So, after basically ignoring the instructions, I thought it was the perfect thing to use to recreate one of the Dries Van Noten gold floral looks. I started with a watercolour base for the skin and the shoes. I then applied the Rub ‘n Buff with a small stiff brush to create the gold flowers. In larger areas you can buff it a bit with the brush, however, in small, more detailed areas, it is not so easy to use as it is very thick and not particularly fluid. Consequently, I had to apply it quite thickly to get a crisp edges. I am no alchemist (or even chemist for that matter) but perhaps you could thin it with a little mineral spirits and that would make it more spreadable? Just a thought.
Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic
Another product that I purchase on a whim but have never used; Daler Rowney Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic Artists Ink. This has a little bit of a sheen to it which complemented the gold quite well. Something that surprised me (but obviously wouldn’t have if I bothered to actually test things out before I committed to the final piece) was that this ink can be painted over the gold. For some reason I thought the Rub ‘n Buff being wax based would repel the water based acrylic. It doesn’t. So all my efforts to get a crisp edge with the gold were slightly unnecessary as I could just create the edges with the black ink.
For her bag I used another shiny buy; a ‘Wink of Stella’ glitter brush pen. They are, as the name suggests, a glitter pen that has a brush tip. There are loads of different colours and the finish is sensational. You will be seeing them a lot more in my art work. I am in love.
At this point everything was looking far more “unrealistic” than I was comfortable with so I used my colour pencils to enhance her face and feet. Her hands were also really bugging me. I could live with the one dimensional nature of her pants and coat but they hands just looked too weird. I took to them with a 6B pencil to add a bit of shading and hopefully they look a bit better.
So here she is. Unfortunately Run ‘n Buff and glitter pens, like a lot of metallic mediums, don’t scan particularly well. They need reflected light to really shine and a scanner just doesn’t do them justice.
Late last year I got very in to colour pencil illustrations again. Working with pencils, be they colour or graphite, is just so much more comfortable for me than using paints. Unlike with graphite pencils (Tombows only), I am quite the colour pencil slut and use a range of brands. In all of the below works I used a combination of Faber-Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor Premier, and Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils.
I really do love the Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils, but at $4.50 a pop I am using them somewhat sparingly.
Anyway enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions!
I realise I am such a hypocrite, nay, more a liar liar pants on fire. “I will never draw another smiley lady in a hat”… remember that! Ha, ha, so what’s the first thing I choose to draw of my own free will… a chick in a hat! To be fair it is a turban not a hat and I am utterly obsessed with turbans. I’ve actually been asked to judge Fashions on the Field next month,(I know I can’t believe no one has figured out I don’t know anything about fashion yet either!) and it is expected that one wears a hat to such occasions. I cannot justify the expense of buying a bit of pointless fluff to wear on my head that I will wear once and only once. Turbans on the other hand really float my boat. Turbans are a trend I can really get behind because with a turban I don’t even have to do my hair … did you hear me? I DONT HAVE TO DO MY HAIR! In fact I can see myself wearing a turban every single day.
So I have been searching obsessively online for a turban and they are everywhere and they are all so beautiful I decide I had to draw one. A beautiful, bright, colour pencil one.
(WARNING: Expect to see plenty of work in progress photos this week. I got me one of those fancy new Samsung phones with the top-notch camera in it. To be fair, I don’t know exactly how to USE any of the fancy stuff but it is nice and I feel like a proper blogger.)