Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting


So you've tried landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, florals and abstracts, what's next?

Portraits!

Don't be afraid to give portrait painting a try in watercolor.

A few little tips and you'll be on your way.

Use transparent colors. You can create endless skin tones with a warm red, a cool red, a warm yellow and a cool yellow. Burnt sienna is an excellent choice for skin tones that are warmer and darker. Okay, burnt sienna is not a transparent color, it's sedimentary and kinda semi-transparent, but it's still perfect.

Use LOTS of water. Whether you're mixing up your colors with red and yellow or using straight burnt sienna, lots of water is key.

Layer up the colors to achieve shape, form, texture, depth.

Use hard and soft edges. You will need to define shapes and shadows with lost and found edges. To define the jaw and the ear, start by painting a hard edge under the jaw and behind the ear and then blend away the top edge so it fades upwards. This will also give shape to the head.

Start by keeping it simple and work from a photograph. Choose a photograph where the person's eyes are closed or looking down or maybe they're looking away. A profile. Eyes are tough. Choose your subject matter wisely. If you think you can't paint a portrait you can if you choose a simpler subject. A toddler, a baby, a bald headed person. Don't laugh. Eyes can be tough and so can hair. So don't let that stop you from trying to paint a portrait.

Study the photo. Look for shapes and textures. Simplify. Don't think of a nose as a nose, look for geometric shapes, organic shapes. A nostril can be a quarter of an oval with a hard edge at the top and a soft faded edge to the bottom.

Take your time. You can do it.

1 comment:

IrinaSztukowski said...

Great advice! Thank you Rita :)
Irina

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