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Metal Rock A to Z Series June 2024

Welcome to my first ever blog !!!!

Right now I'm working on a series of portraits painted in gouache. This series is my Metal/Rock A to Z and is inspired by my discovery of Scott Sava on the YouTube. Scott has painted 2 series of portraits in his 80s and 90s music alphabets, go check him out, he is brilliant and so encouraging to other artists. Artist | Scott Sava Art (

F to J in my Metal A to Z

The first task was to think of bands/artists for each letter of the alphabet. With a bit of help from my metal son Kurt, I compiled a list. Check out Kurt's band Ey Up Maiden ( a Yorkshire Iron Maiden tribute band).

Some letters had lots of options eg. the letter R has Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, Rammstein. The hardest one has been X, I couldn't think of a band/artist so had a bit of a google and found one (I won't reveal it here as I haven't finished the project yet.)

Daler Rowney gouache with Winsor and Newton white

Next I had to think about materials. I dug out my ancient set of Daler Rowney gouache paints, some had dried up so I cut the ends off and put the dried paint in my palette to use like a watercolour pan. I did have to buy a few colours that I was lacking in and also invested in a Winsor and Newton white. I think the Daler Rowney gouache may be discontinued, as they were on sale and not being restocked, but don't quote me on that.

I decided to work at a small scale, as I have 26 portraits to complete, so chose A5. I had a mixed media pad of toned paper,, from Clairefontaine, with exactly 26 sheets left in the pad...fate!! It has proved to be great for gouache.

Paint On Mixed Media Pad by Clairefontaine

As I write this blog I'm up to T in the A to Z. Some portraits have been more successful than others. I started off by using the gouache quite thickly but gradually changed to thin washes for the initial layers, more like I would use watercolour.

I really like Scott Sava's comic book/ pop art style, so I've tried to use lots of colour and paint bolder and looser than my usual style.

Outlining the finished portrait has been a joy to re-discover. I used to be "Told Off" in art class about outlining everything in black so I veered away from it. The black and then the white line give the portraits a lovely comic book effect, it's taking me back to my childhood spent drawing Disney characters ( and horses.) I've learnt to embrace the styles I used to love and ignore the idea that it's not proper art.

Gouache is a versatile medium, used thinly it behaves like watercolour but you can work dark to light and paint over mistakes ( check out this short of my B for Black Sabbath portrait where I made a big mistake ). A higher ratio of paint to water increases the opacity so much you can quite easily paint over mistakes.

I'm not as keen on the paints tendency to chalkiness. Generally colurs will dry lighter than when wet, but some go the other way and dry darker ( an idiosyncratic paint.) Mixing colours gives mixed ( hahaha) results and I've found adding white to the violet to get a lighter purple results in a greyish hue.

N is for Nirvana and M id for Motorhead

My favourite portraits have been the ones with character, so Lemmy (M for Motorhead) was such a fun piece to paint. The guys with more symmetrical, classically handsome faces, such as Kurt Cobain ( N is for Nirvana), have proved more difficult to paint.

I'm thinking about running a competition where you can tell me which band I should have painted then put them to a vote, the one with the most votes I'll paint as a prize for one lucky winner.

I've not decided what I'm going to do with this series when all 26 paintings are done. I would like to display them somehow, let me know if you have any ideas.

Thanks for reading and I'll try to get my blog on again soon.

Christine x

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