Pink paintings!

A week ago at the figure studio, I got another opportunity to draw the lovely Emily (you may remember her fabulous striped outfits from previous sessions).

Quick gesture sketches

Page of gestures

Maybe it’s because she and I were talking about hair before the class started, but I found myself fascinated with hers: the curve of her bangs, the movement in her ponytail. We discovered a shared adoration for bright pink hair; I also love purple hair, which she has no feelings about, whereas she’s equally passionate about blue hair, and I don’t care for it. I was tickled to try painting her hair in different colors during the evening, including blue and green. Her real hair color is a pleasant mixture of gold, honey, and maple.

Five-minute gesture paintings

Five-minute poses

I like my outline sketches very much (I still get happy every time I look at this one propped up against my bedroom wall), but skin tones and flesh are so rich, I can’t help but feel deprived whenever I make a sketch that doesn’t at least allude to colors and volume. Maybe it’s because I started out drawing and so I always pay attention to line first (which enables me to do those quick outlines), or maybe it’s just that I’m not good at rendering volume quickly in watercolor, but it’s definitely easier for me to get into the skin during poses that are ten minutes or longer.

Five- and ten-minute sketches

The one at left is five minutes, the others are ten-minute poses

I’m running out of pages in my sketchbook, and I’m getting tired of working with wrinkly paper all the time, so I brought good paper and did the longer paintings on it. Ahhh. I’ve even been thinking, lately, of making up my own little travel sketchbook by binding together pieces of this paper. I’ve spent the past year making do with a sketchbook that uses only run-of-the-mill copy paper… it would be a joy to have some good paper while I’m on the road. If you’re not acquainted with the variety of art papers out there, think of something else you know well, where the quality of the product makes a huge difference — olive oil for example, or bread, or leather (real or faux).

Emily brought some fun garments as usual, including a sigh-worthy confection of a magenta tutu. The pencil and charcoal artists weren’t crazy about it, but I loved it — and it was quick to paint, which left me time for her face. Too bad I didn’t capture it. If I had, and if I’d been able to fit her feet on the page, I’d be over the moon about this painting.

Watercolor of woman in red bra and fluffy pink tutu

Sweetheart, 20 minutes

I’m less pleased with my second tutu painting. There are parts of it I really like: the chair legs, her foot, the volume where the tutu fluffs in her lap. But her face is all wrong, and so is her right arm. Her weight isn’t settled in the right way, either. Still, I think overall this painting has a nice feeling about it.

Watercolor of seated woman in fluffy pink tutu

Bent, 25-minute pose

I feel similarly about this last painting, though I like it a lot because of the bold colors and simplicity. Her weight isn’t distributed right; her left side should be curved a lot more to indicate how settled she is in the chair. It’s good that I can see these things, though. This picture was a second attempt at the color experiment I did last week with the lotus painting; I’d held off on crazy colors because I was having fun with the colors of her clothes, but for the last painting I just wanted to go for it — only in a more understated way. I’m pleased with how it came out.

Watercolor of a nude woman wearing striped stockings and sitting in a yellow chair

Pink woman, yellow chair (25 minutes)

As always, click the images for larger versions and more description.

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