Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A Water Color Portrait in Progress
< Yesterday I gave a private lesson to a young, very talented lady by the name of Heather. She loves water color and wants to learn the fine art of portraiture in this medium. We did three hours of painting (from a color reference photo and painting on a half sheet of 140lb. cold press)) starting with laying down a light wash for the skin ranging from yellows to warm and cool reds. Those washes go right into the hair, over the "whites" of the eyes, and even over the "white" of the teeth. As we progress, notice how little detail is put into the teeth! That was followed up with painting the darker values in the facial features such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. I most always like to start with the eyes as you see here. The trick with facial features is to make them look natural and not to outline them. The world is made up of value variations and not lines. Some values merge, some contrast. It is all there if you have sensitiized ("sensitized"...did I just make up a word??) your eyes to see them. Speaking of values contrasting and merging, check out the "line" or hard edge between the jaw and neck and the merging or value graduation from the left side of the neck to the middle of the neck. Finally, we finished up with the hair...the dreaded hair!!!...the most challenging part of the portrait. Yes, I "cheated" and used some conte crayon for some strands... so sue me! By the way, in the fourth photo, you see my student surrounded by my painting, the reference photo, and an open Chrles Reid book for inspiration on painting hair without having to go in and paint every strand...just masses of color and value and a few strands.