Friday, March 13, 2009

Anatomy of a watercolour portrait

Edited 3.15.09: This is a daylight photo of the portrait which gives a truer representation of the colours at this stage of the piece.

I have been lucky enough to be able to provide Cath Sheard with a portrait of her mother, so I thought I would show the process of the creation of a watercolour portrait to date. I'll apologize up front for the quality of the images as they're taken under artificial light so are darker than they should.

I start out with a simple line drawing, mapping out major areas of values.

From there I put down a base of colour to the face and portions of the hair in shadow. These will be refined in detail later.

I start adding more layers to the shadows of the face and hair, introducing other colours as I go to add interest and give depth. I also start putting in some background colour, keeping it all fairly loose and letting the paint and water flow in a controlled sort of way. :)

I keep adding layers of colour, some of them put down on damp paper, but I usually let one layer dry before I start the next so not to muddy the tones. I keep refining shapes and detail til I get to the point where it lets me know I can't go further. I will then add additional detail with wc pencil to bring out areas that I want to highlight.

This is going into its final stage of development and I hope to finish this piece during the weekend then it can be set free on its way to New Zealand.


Ana Tirolese said...

This is very nicely done. Thanks for sharing the steps. :)

Jo Castillo said...

Beautiful, Jeanette. Thanks for the WIP. You are sending it for a long ride! They are sure to love it.

Robyn said...

Very good, Jeanette. It's a shame you had to photograph it in artificial light because I can imagine the sparkle it has in real life.

Photographing art is another good reason to look forward to summer.

Billie Crain said...

Jeanette, can you adjust the color in your photo editor? this portrait looks good but i know it looks a whole lot better IRL.

Rose Welty said...

Jeanette, you've become so confident with these watercolour portraits...they are beautiful. I'm very impressed!

Jan said...

Well done! Portraits in any medium scare me but especially watercolor! This is looking great in spite of the poor conditions for photographing it.

Jeanette said...

Thanks for commenting. Adjustments in photo editors just don't cut it after artificial light photos. Or I'm just not competent with photo editors, which is more like the case.

I have taken a photo of this in daylight and have edited the post to show it.

Its still not complete as I've been resting my shoulder this weekend and while I can draw on my lap, its difficult to get my arm up to paint for very long.

Hopefully more tomorrow!

The Victorious place said...

Beautifuly done.

Anonymous said...

This is so exciting - and very cool to see WIP. Can't wait to see IRL and then give to Mum on 30th June.