portrait for practice

A quickie watercolor sketch portrait in the old “blue coptic” journal , done from photo ref, which I made a few years ago. The paper is awful – coarse, too absorbent, and you can’t push paint around when you apply it; it sinks in immediately. But I’m too stubborn to just put it away with a dozen or so pages left unused. So I’m going to use it up in the next few days so I can be DONE with it, already. The one “good” thing about this paper, if you can call it that, is that it forces you to be as deliberate with your brushstrokes as drawing with a pen. There’s no “lifting” the watercolor – it’s as merciless as indelible ink.

Why the bad paper? Because I had it on hand – some old drawing paper torn out from a tablet – and I didn’t expect the book to turn out well and didn’t want to waste “the good stuff.” And then I was stuck with it. Oh, and it kind of beads up, too, before it sinks in.

Hmmm … what about acrylic gesso on the page first … I’m going to experiment.

Now, Kate is much more optimistic and practical than I – she used good paper for her first journal, which she posted today on her blog. You should see it, it’s really nice.


  1. Lin
    February 28, 2006

    Great sketches, Karen …. I know you’ll do a fantastic job on your own portrait!

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