Friday, December 19, 2008

Watercolour pout

The Pout WIP 9 x 12 watercolour

I have decided to face my nemesis in this portrait. Watercolour, for me is one of the most difficult mediums, likely because I don't use if frequently enough. I use it for washes in sketches but rarely to complete a piece.

This portrait is of my daughter and I did a sketch of it a couple of weeks ago. I loved the expression in it but have very poor reference photos to work from.

I'm taking my time and building it slowly. Part of my problem with watercolours is impatience waiting for layers to dry and not to keep adding, creating a muddy mess. Especially in the skin tones of children, you want it fresh and light.

So this is the first few layers. The piece has much warmer tones to it - or will - and the hair will be darker. I want it to have life and depth but always shy away from bold dark colours. And with watercolour its pretty much no going back once the brush is applied to paper. Of course, night time doesn't make it easy to capture colours with a camera. I'll try for a scan for the next update and see if I can get truer colours and values then.

Here is a link that I found on Vivien Blackburn's site. What card are you?


You are The Moon


Hope, expectation, Bright promises.


The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.


The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

6 comments:

Anita said...

I think I am the same - not sure I would have the patience fot the layers to dry in watercolour. I wonder if the answer is to have several pieces on the go at once and then by the time you finish with the last one the first one is dry again.
Off to take the tarot test.

~Gina Cuff said...

Hi Jeanette, this is quite good!I think you're doing a marvelous job. I've never attempted a portrait in watercolor. I imagine I would have great difficulty. I'm too heavy handed when using watercolor.

Robyn said...

Watercolour can be a lot more forgiving than people think. Good paper will stand up to a good scrubbing if you aren't happy with an aspect of the painting.

You can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. I usually have the opposite problem - that the wash won't stay wet long enough for me to control it, particularly in summer.

You are very much on the right track with The Pout, Jeanette. I love the shadow across the eyes. Looking forward to the final glazes.

Robyn said...

I started reading about What Card are You and thought I must duck over to Vivien's blog and find mine..... then I read further and thought, goodness that's a bit serious. What if mine says I can't have wine for Christmas! ;)

Billie Crain said...

the handiest tools to have for a watercolorist are a hairdryer and a spray bottle. oh, and paper towels, too. letting the colors mix on the paper makes for stunning results but if you're going for a tighter style then it gets tricky. i've painted only one child and did it in watercolor. i too thought because it was a child's portrait i should stick to pale colors but in the end i didn't and it turned out fine. it looked like a baby anyway. lol watercolor is T-H-E toughest medium to work in because it is so unpredictable and hard to control. i applaud your efforts!

btw, i enjoyed the tarot test!

Jeanette said...

Watercolour, for me, is one of those 'hold your breath til its done' efforts. Good idea! Several at once...

Thanks Gina. I can sooooo easily screw it up :)

Robyn, fast drying isn't a problem here, not even in summer usually! I'm scared to fiddle too much as I don't know enough about watercolour to fix mistakes. I'll show the completed piece tonight.

No wine for Christmas! The heck with tarot cards then.

Billie, thanks for the advice. Graphite has been my friend for too long I think and I need more practice in watercolour. Trust me to jump in at the deep end with a portrait huh? :)

I wish my watercolour friends were close enough to pop by and supervise me in this!