Playing and Doodling using old paintings



I needed to play and doodle yesterday, and so I pulled out a piece of watercolour paper which I had already thrown some paint on.    Not sure what I originally intended, but that’s not important.

If you look closely you can see that I have sketched the profile of Claudia, with a blue water colour pencil.   I used a photograph of Claudia as my jumping off point.


Anyone who has taken one of my workshops will know how important I consider the warming up process to be.    Like dancers, musicians and athletes, painters need to warm up at the beginning of the day.    Playful exercises using newspaper, wall paper lining or painting over old sketches is freeing. 

In this frame, it’s all about the negative space.applying colour into the area surrounding the profile, which immediately reveals the face.   Even though I am working over a colour ground, I have applied juicy watercolour next to the face, and then with a clean, wet brush, I have pulled the paint out.


Remember when working from a photograph, it’s not about copying – rather using it as a jumping off point.

I decided to add some Indian Red water colour to the hair and into the negative space.   If asked why….my answer would be because the colour was on my palette and I felt like it:)

Given that I am working off a colour ground, I have applied some Winsor & Newton gouache, permanent white…Had I been working  on white paper….I would have left dry white paper for my highlights. 


I have added some Cadmium Orange water colour which brings a vibrancy to the image.


In the final frame I decided to use the Permanent White, along with some Naples Yellow gouache around the image to bring a sense of interesting light and movement.


An artist who was recently visiting, talked about the problem of feeling that everything she did had to be a finished painting, even in her sketch book.       In our discussion she realised how this attitude prevented her from playing, doodling and freeing up.  

This post will be followed by a watercolour portrait on white paper…..

A Bientôt



15 thoughts on “Playing and Doodling using old paintings

  1. snowbird

    Wow….and this is just you playing? That’s better than me being utterly intent and serious. I loved the red hair, it really does

  2. janetweightreed

    Hi Bonnie, I have been thinking about you. So hard to believe that you have been to Europe and are now back in the States. A big reminder of the importance of making the best of every single day:). Hope the creative juices are flowing..

  3. gillswriting

    What an interesting concept, warming up. The way you have portrayed this process here makes complete sense and not just for artists. Thanks for sharing this and your amazing talent. Oh and thanks for finding your way to my humble blog too.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much for this comment. You are so right that the warming up process does not just apply to visual artists. It’s also very good for writers. I will look forward to reading your blog. Janet. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Playing and Doodling using old paintings | My Life as an Artist (2)

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