Sunday, August 10, 2008
Happy Birthday Laketrees Ladies - painting loosely from a B&W photo
Here is a great little exercise for those of you who are bogged down by details and cannot seem to conquer "painting loosely": use a B&W photo on the computer (don't print it out) for reference!
One of my favourite blogs to visit is Laketrees.blogspot.com for many reasons.
I am an Australian/Canadian living in Canada, but missing Sydney, so visiting Australia on the blogosphere is as close as I'm going to be for at least the next year or more...
I love art, especially portraiture, and Kim has such a unique style that I love to view.
She has great contests, and I think it's a wonderful idea. I have decided to host a contest of my own in the fall for a free portrait - what a lovely Christmas gift for one of my blogging friends! Check back for more info in September.
And of course, Kim combs the universe for little interesting tidbits of information that I always find either entertaining or useful (or sometimes both!)
So in honor of Kim's birthday, and her daughter Charlotte, I splashed down some color for a very loose, impromptu portrait of Charlotte (reference photo can be found at Laketrees).
Here's how I did it:
I used a block of Arches 140lb cold press for easy portability and sat down in front of my iMac with HB pencil and white eraser (never use those crappy pink things on the end of your pencil on watercolor paper - it will ruin the fibres)
I measured out a 2.5 x 3.5 inch (ACEO) frame and started sketching the general face shape, using my thumb as a guide for size. Notice how the outer edge of Charlotte's eye forms a nice diagonal line all the way along her nose to her lips? That makes for easy reference!
I sketched the nose and lips, then went up to the eye - it was a bit off for the first couple rounds but in the end I feel I got the right shape.
The reference photo is in b&w, so I was able to use whatever colors made me happy. I moved away from the computer at this point and let my mood be my guide. Happy is how I feel, so I chose Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Gold, and Cerulean Blue. That's it! A 3-colour portrait. The dark eye color was achieved rather easily: I cheated and never erased the pencil from underneath. And then at the last minute I decided to add a touch of Pyrelene green to the eye for a richer dark. So I guess that makes it a 4-colour painting, but really...who's counting?
And remember - anything that you want to be white, you have to leave free of any color. So go easy on the hair if you want to achieve a lot of highlights.
Last but not least - use a BIG brush because it's impossible to paint a lot of tiny details when you use a big brush. It will free you, I promise!
(note to new watercolor enthusiasts: it is almost impossible to erase pencil marks once a layer of paint has been applied, so anything you don't want to show - erase FIRST)
Happy Birthday Charlotte & Kim!