Just before Christmas I splurged and impulse bought myself an iPad with one of those little drawing pens. I’ve not much used it (though I am typing this post on it now despite the fact that even my tiny fingers find the keyboard I’ve attached a bit too small).
For a while now, I’ve been wanting to get back into portraits. I enjoyed my day 1 of this challenge so much, I thought for certain I’d be doing more. The problem is references. I need models. And all my photographs tend to be those super posed, smiley faces that I love to put in frames around the house, but don’t really want to make art from. One can only paint oneself from a mirror so many times before it becomes narcissistic.
Last night I started pinning face references for artists on Pinterest— more resources online than I could have dreamed existed. I used my iPad to sketch a bit. The first drawing is based on one of those references, the second I just made up. The ipad is crazy. It works just like a pen or a pencil or whatever tool you choose– pressing harder makes lines darker, hold it on its side and it creates soft shadows.
One of the biggest benefits from doing watercolor this month is that I’ve had to return to drawing in a way I don’t with oils. My sketches for oils are just general guidelines with little to no detail. With watercolor, I actually use a pencil (imagine that!) and draw, really draw, something before I add the color. I’m not going to abandon pen and paper, but I think this iPad might help get me back into drawing, you know, like, just for fun.
What does any of this have to do with today’s painting? Well not much. But I did begin a little watercolor painting after today’s of my own little chickadee, Ezra. I used a candid photo I had taken of him last summer on our beach vacation. His eyes are wide, his cheeks sun-kissed, freckles prominent. The photograph is a bad one— so poorly cropped I think it may have even been an accidental shot. But with my watercolors, I want what is left out to be as important as what is there, so the fact that the photo is not even of his entire face was actually appealing. Even with today’s— it’s the details I didn’t add, the simplicity, the editing out before the brush ever hits the paper, that I think makes it all work. I’ve got a handful of these watercolor paintings that aren’t working, that try to do too much or just edit out the wrong things. I don’t know if I’ll eventually have to reveal them so as not to miss a day, but I’m hoping I can let them sit in the “discard” pile while my “keeps” pile continues to build.
Not sure when, but a few portraits will be coming soonish. Not that I’m suggesting that there is any possibility that you might be tired of birds.