Thursday, May 23, 2019

Painting with Spots and Dots

To paint this portrait of Smooth, I use watercolor and gouache. 

I decide on a pose where he's laying down. I know he's going to move a lot during the hour and a half session. 

I start loosely, placing spots and dots with big brushes, knowing I can correct errors as I go.

The video shows the process of the painting — (Link to video)

Here are the 12 tips for painting a moving subject, including:

1. Keep the easel, brushes and palette near the line of sight
2. Use a limited palette of colors
3. If you don't like the start, start over
4. Use the corner of a large flat brush
5. Be vigilant for errors, and fix them as you go
6. Look for other places to use each color that you mix
7. Use a different brush for each main color
8. Use water-soluble colored pencils for small lines and textures
9. To modify a passage of dry gouache, wet it quickly (one touch!) and paint into it
10. Pick a pose your subject is likely return to
11. Try priming with casein or tinted gesso
12. Start loose in watercolor — just spots and dots

Pentalic watercolor sketchbook
M. Graham (watercolor)
M. Graham (gouache)
Connoisseur Travel brush 9467
Connoisseur Cat's tongue brush (Squirrel Hair Risslon)
Richeson Travel brush set
Water cup
Homemade easel
You can also use Caran d'Ache gouache in pan set
Fountain pen

Canon M6 (time lapse, video, and stills)
Canon PowerShot Elph (point-and-shoot)
Zoom H2N digital audio recorder
Rode Video Mic GO (microphone)

"Gouache in the Wild" (Download on Gumroad)
"Gouache in the Wild" on (DVD)
“How to Make a Sketch Easel” (DVD)
“Watercolor in the Wild” (Download)

Gouache Materials List
Watercolor Materials

Color and Light: A Guide for Realist Painters
Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist
Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

Facebook group "Sketch Easel Builders"


Stephen and Nyree said...

I really appreciate your final comment about having fun and remembering that it doesn't have to be perfect, it's just a sketch book. All to easy to forget, thanks!

nuum said...

Smooth is a star.
Please, James, microchip him.
Beautiful painting.
Waiting for more Smooth sketches.
Thanks, Master.

Luca said...

Thanks for this video and for final advice (to have fun and to remember that it's a sketch, very wise words!). Smooth is a lovely dog!
In the portrait of the lady on the train part i noticed you had the pencils covered by the paint, at one point, and you were directly "drawing" her nose with the brush: the role of finer details in the pencil sketch still puzzles me a bit (while i understand how a rough sketch helps in defining main shapes, proportions and compositions), since they will disappear as soon as the main shapes are painted. So, do you try to guess or remember where the pencil lines were or do you see them as two separate phases and basically draw the subject twice (once in pencil, once with paint)?

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Luca. That's it. I like to think of painting as a form of drawing. And drawing is a form of guessing followed by correction.

Bells said...

I'm new in the painting world, Gurney is one of my inspirations ... Want to know if he work with acrylic ink, or just gouache ...