Watercolour Portrait Practice

Stepping out of my comfort zone a bit with this portrait. It’s my first child portrait and I chose to do it because there’s a painting in my head that’s similar to this subject I want to do at some point on a much larger size and so this is sort of a test run.

She was pretty fun to do, I imagine just as much fun as she looked like she was having when her photo was taken! My favourite part of this piece is her forehead; I just love how the light was captured just at the very top where the skin and hair meet at the hairline which adds so much depth. It definitely left me pretty content. To get the effect of thicker, dried paint on her skin, I decided to whip out my pastels again so I guess it’s more of a mixed media piece which added some needed texture. I just wish I had more of a colour palette to choose from with the blues!

Portrait #14

Figure Drawing with Pastels

Practicing the different aspects of art for these paintings I eventually want to produce someday made me stop to assess how much progress I have made to date getting to that ultimate goal. My portrait series continues, however I realised I need to start doing full body studies so that everything falls into place.

Last weekend, I looked through past sketches and it inspired me to do some gesture drawings 30 to 60 seconds long and boy was I rusty! I did them over 2 to 3 days and while there were some I was pleased with, I really need to incorporate that into my practice routine more frequently. After my gesture attempts I decided to do some figure studies not set to a specific time to see if I could accomplish a study or two without the pressure of the clock and to add a little more spice to it, I decided to do this last one in pastels.

Since I have had these pastels for at least 5 years or so, I haven’t recently expanded the range of colours I have available. I have an earth-tone set and a starter kit of basic colours. Compared to watercolours, the ability to blend was a challenge, I missed my indigos and deep purples and my sepia to get the colour exactly the way I wanted.

All in all, it was fun, I will do one of these per week in different mediums I have available to increase my practice. Oh, and side note, the reason for the difference in colours in the pastel in progress and the finished one was that one was a photo was taken in the daylight and the second photo was a scan of the final image.

The last comparison photo was a five year difference and I think one lesson I learned comparing both works was that less is more.

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