Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post from Jordan Hill who is working with gouache this month along with my ATC Mixup stencil, Triangle Love rubber stamp set, and our theme: Favorite Art – My Way – Look at a favorite work of art and create something inspired by it, drawing from the colors, shapes, subject matter, feeling etc. that strikes you most when you look at it.
Hello everyone! I’m excited to be back for the month of September to share another art journal page with all of you. For this month’s theme of “Favorite Art – My Way”, I thought it might be fun to do a master study of a painting by copying one directly into my art journal. I’ve been wanting to play around with gouache for a while now (its been quite a few years since I last used it), and I decided to use the painting ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, painted by Johannes Vermeer as my inspiration. Let’s get into it!
The first step was to select a page to work on. Since I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted to paint, I chose a page that I thought the illustration would look good next to.
Once I had determined which page I was going to use, I decided to create the background first. In the original “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting, the background is quite dark. I added some green and black paint directly onto my page, then moved it around with a paintbrush. Once it had been spread out, I blotted a crumpled up paper towel over the surface to give it a mottled texture.
Once the background had dried, I used a white colored pencil to lightly block in the shapes of the painting. I copied directly from a photo of the original and tried to focus on getting the general idea of the painting down on paper, since I knew I was going to cover it up anyways.
Next, I prepared my palette. Like I mentioned before, I knew that I wanted to use gouache, so I selected some colors of paint that matched the tones in the original painting. Though I didn’t have the perfect assortment of colors, I knew that I would be able to mix them in order to get the colors I wanted.
I then worked on building up the painting itself. I worked with the gouache in layers, starting out by applying a thin layer to each section of the sketch. This first layer was mostly about blocking in the colors. I then let that dry, and added another layer on top. In the second layer, I focused on the shadows. While working on this painting, I continued to cross reference my painting with the original, observing where the colors and shadows were placed and trying my best to replicate that.
This is where I deviated from a typical study. Since the shirt consisted of such a large empty block of color, I thought it was the perfect place to add in a pattern. Using one of the patterns from Nathalie’s “ATC Mixup Stencil” and some light pink acrylic paint on a makeup sponge, I applied a pattern across the surface of the shirt. I then went in with a Prismacolor colored pencil and started to add lines to the piece, defining some of the areas that I lost while using the paint.
At this point, I wanted to add some subtle texture to the background, so I used Nathalie’s “Empire Triangle” and a black ink pad to create a pattern over the dark green color. Since the background was almost black, there wasn’t a lot of contrast between the pattern and the background, which is exactly the kind of subtlety I was looking for.
Finally, I added a quote to my page with a white gel pen. This quote seemed fitting considering the subject of the page, and it was a nice reminder to myself that everyone goes through struggles with their artwork, but that’s just part of the process!
I hope you enjoyed following along with the process of creating this page and that you consider doing a master study of your own! They’re a great way to learn and grow as an artist.
Thank you Jordan – wonderful idea to practice by copying a master and then putting your stamp (or stencil lol) on it. Looks awesome!!!
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