Sunday, August 10, 2008

Watercolour portraits

Self portrait - line drawing
copyright Jeanette Jobson

.Its been another grey wet day so I've been practicing some portraits. This is the start of yet another self portrait. I'm trying this in watercolour and this is the initial line drawing. I've had to darken it a lot to be able to show it here, so the edges are a little greyed too.

I've done a few watercolour portraits over time and though I prefer dry media, I like to paint from time to time. Watercolour does take some planning and I probably spend more time thinking about where I'll place my next stroke, what the dampness of the paper should be or if I've chosen the right colour or value.

I have an ancient set of Windsor & Newton watercolours that I bought when I lived in the UK. That in itself shows how infrequently I use watercolours! Ancient or not, they work beautifully and when I haul out my old brushes, it brings back memories every time.

I've been asked what palette I use in my portraits and I find that very difficult to answer as it varies so much for each subject. However, there is a base of 'flesh' that I tend to use which consists of yellow ochre, burnt umber and burnt sienna applied in varying strengths, depending on the subject and the lighting. I keep adding layers trying not to overpower the piece or muddy it. I've been playing with different colours in shadows and hair, trying more intense blues, greens and purples that look a little unorthodox, but the values work.


Michael said...

I would love to see examples of the layering that you are talking about for the flesh tones. Do you think you might be able to take photos of the steps along the way so that we can see what you are talking about?

Jeanette said...

I will try to remember to capture the steps Michael. I sometimes get so involved that I forget to scan or take a photo. :)

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I love the pose - and yes please to a WIP

Rose Welty said...

You and your self-portraits fascinate me. Just last week I spent some time thinking about how I'd really like to get into your habit. So, I did do one - they are not yet suitable for public viewing, but I hope that the "bug" sticks, because I do love your series!