Plunging Into Paint

I’ve spent a few years simply drawing stuff, trying to figure out how to draw something I’m looking at in its proper proportions.  I’ve done thousands of sketches with this as the singular goal.  I love lines and my passion for fountain pens has driven me forward.  When it came color and paint, it has been done as an afterthought and mostly like a kid using crayons to color in the shapes.

More recently, though, I’ve realized that I’ve separated, too much, my drawing from my painting and that I need to think more about the paint as I draw.  I’ve found this hard to do because I get into the process of making lines and forget completely about notions of color.

I decided that the only way to break through this was to go to start with paint, try to figure out paint, and maybe then I could integrate it into my sketching.  Just for good measure I decided that I should set aside my watercolors, at least for these experiments, and use a medium I’ve never used before.  Here is the first, and only acrylic painting I’ve ever done.

Of course I had no idea what I was doing but I used acrylic’s fast-drying ability, its opacity, and its laying ability to scrape together a paint brush.  Oh…and a big dose of YouTube how-to videos about acrylics helped considerably.

My real interest in mediums other than watercolor, though, is gouache.  I like that it meshes well with watercolor, that I can carry it with me, and that it’s easy to clean up.  So, I painted the same brush in gouache.  I had a harder time with the layering, suggesting I need to get a better handle on water control.  You sure need to use less water – a lot less water.  If you don’t previous layers will lift and mix with the paint you’re putting down.

I had fun doing both of these paintings.  I felt way out of my element due to the lack of outlines but that has its redeeming features as well.  In addition to these paintings I’ve covered half a dozen sheets of watercolor paper with blotches, mixes, blends, and value scales.  I guess this is the equivalent to when I used to draw lots of cubes in perspective (grin).