As July turned into August I started feeling blah every day when I brought out my sketchbook for daily painting. My intentions when I decided to do painting as my daily art for 2022 were to learn how to use paint and brushes, and with any luck, to develop some kind of personal style or voice that felt good. I even thought maybe I could eventually come up with small paintings good enough to be torn out of the sketchbook and displayed in the gallery.
But none of these things had happened at mid-year. I had learned that I loved gouache, especially when watered down a bit so I could use wet-into-wet techniques. But my default composition of three horizontal segments, stacked one over the other, was feeling stale. Some days I liked what I did, other days not, and I was definitely in a rut.
My sketchbook ran out of pages toward the end of August and I waited until the last possible day to make a run to the art supply store -- where to my dismay, there were no more 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 sketchbooks on the shelves. I had to buy the next size up, 7 x 10. That doesn't seem like a lot, but it's actually 50% larger and the expanse of untouched white looked orders of magnitude more daunting.
So, time for a life-changing experience -- I painted a person.
I was thinking of Rouault's people, crudely outlined in black, usually dark against dark, not photorealistic by a mile but also not cute or cartoony.
Here's my first such guy:
I liked him, but what to do the next day? I was less happy with the second guy, getting too much toward the cute/cartoon side:
Then an idea: what if I copied my guy from a photo in the newspaper instead of drawing him? Here's the third guy:
I was much happier -- without having to worry about the outline, I could still do my own thing with the painting, and the two-color face approach was very satisfying. I'm now two weeks in to the newspaper photo series and feeling pretty good about it.
I'll show you more of these new faces in another post.