Moving right along, here is another of the finished pieces from last weekend.
After defining the eyes in the first stages (blogged about here) I moved over to the initial light stages of hair color. When I'm working on rough watercolor paper, I tend to steer away from using masking fluid for things like hair, because it can leave such a harsh jagged edge. So working in chunks, I left large sections of hair either white or with a soft wash of Goethite. I love Goethite for it's non-yellow appearance, perfect for either light brown hair or sandy beaches. It has a cool grainy texture to it, also that I love - even though it can't be seen too well here in the photo. Pyrelene green and Quinacridone rose are used throughout the hair - green tones down the red, and rose adds a bit of drama for a fun spark of color. By this stage of the game, I'm not really looking at the reference photo too much. I know she's got sandy-blond hair and that's enough for me right now.
If the hair gets a little too brassy - remember the basics of color theory and pull out the brassiness with a touch of purple. In this case, I used Violet Lake right out of the tube instead of mixing, simply because I like it just the way it is. You can see where I used it in the lower sections of hair to add a bit of cool shadow but still maintain an amount of luminosity to the painting.
When working on more mature faces, remember that lines around the eyes are actually creases, and not "lines"...so if necessary, paint a darker skin-toned wash around the eyes (using non-staining pigment) and then when it is dry, use a clean brush to gently lift out some of the highlights that appear around the creases. You'll get a much softer appearance that way, which suggests beauty and character, instead of ugly harsh lines!
Next I'll post the finishing steps on the final of these three portraits.