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11.14.2014

Learning to Paint Watercolor Portraits

The last week in October, I took a wonderful portrait painting class by visiting artist, Jane Paul Angelhart. It was so much fun. I had never tried to paint the likeness of a person in watercolor before and had no idea that I would enjoy doing so.

Jane gave us watercolor paper with sketches printed onto it in a light color. She did demos and talked about what she was doing and then we gave it a try and she walked around and gave us tips. Here are the portraits that I did in the class:


On the last day I started a portrait of my daughter. Below is what I accomplished. I didn't get very far.


The next day, I worked on it a little more. I still had a way to go, but was happy with how it was progressing. I think it captures her likeness and has a freshness.


I haven't had time to paint in the last few weeks. (I was doing jewelry for a craft show.) Today, I finally sat down and worked on this portrait. Here is the finished product.


I learned a lot painting this. First of all, the photo that I used isn't the best. You could not see the eye detail very well and it was extremely difficult to see what was the tip of the nose and what was the shadow. The lighting is not ideal for the method we learned in class. Here is the reference photo:


Secondly, in class, Jane taught to layer many, many washes. She encouraged us to use the class to see how far you can push the layers before you go too far. Parts of this painting fall into that category. I also kept changing the background color and it ended up being a very somber dark color that I didn't think matched the smiling portrait. I ended up scrubbing off a lot of paint and putting a brighter color. It helped a bit, but the paper I was using is not of high quality and was starting to pill everywhere I scrubbed.

I definitely need more practice, but I am enjoying the process!


2 comments:

Lillian Connelly said...

Wow. These are amazing! I read a book about layering for portraits. I found it difficult to know when to stop too. I think you did really well. There is so much light in your paintings. Beautiful! Your daughter is beautiful too. It's nice when we have pretty models to paint, isn't it?

Lillian Connelly said...

Wow. These are amazing! I read a book about layering for portraits. I found it difficult to know when to stop too. I think you did really well. There is so much light in your paintings. Beautiful! Your daughter is beautiful too. It's nice when we have pretty models to paint, isn't it?