Lee and Sarah have finally settled in their surroundings, after layers and layers of blue and yellow washes to create the sea and waves. More red and blue layers of watercolour have been added to Sarah’s veil and Sarah’s heart earring has been painted. After several blue washes Lee’s trousers are much darker, with a lighter blue tone for Lee’s belt. Finally we have a sense of the mood and romantic setting of Lee and Sarah’s lovely wedding.
Lee and Sarah now have a sense of place as the background develops. I am using blue and yellow tones for the sea, creating wave movement and I have added a light red tone around the clouds, reflecting the warmth of the sun. Lee’s trousers now have several layers of blue watercolour pigment.
The portrait painting of Lee and Sarah is now coming together. I am painting the sky a light blue, leaving areas of white for the clouds and the first washes for the waves in the sea have been applied. Yellow watercolour tones have been applied to the foot of the sea, to show where the sea meets the sand. Lee’s trousers have had their first layers of watercolour applied.
I have added even more shading to the couple’s clothes now, to show the creases in the cloth. Lee’s arm has also gone darker and finally the couple are no longer in space, but are actually in a setting. The first blue layers of sky and sea have been painted in light washes.
Now Lee’s shirt and the overall portrait has even more shading added. I’ve also started to paint Sarah’s wedding dress, leaving the white areas and showing creases and shading within the dress. The portrait shading is made up of layers of the primary colours and not a mixed watercolour.
So now I’m painting more around the white paper, as I paint more of the lace veil and Lee’s shirt starts to take form. Again I will be adding layers of watercolour pigment over all the areas of the painting, so the tones of the portrait remain balanced. I’ve also started to paint the background with a light blue wash.
Leaving the white areas can be tricky, especially now I’ve started to paint the lace veil. I don’t use masking fluid, instead I prefer to paint around all the white areas, which can be difficult when the white areas are exceptionally small, but I think the white paper offers a better white, than any white watercolour pigment. You can just see Sarah’s shoulder and hair through the thinner layers of the veil. All the time I keep adding a darker tone to the overall portrait.
Painting hair in watercolours can take time, as I want to build up movement and texture with the hair strands. It is surprising how many of us have different coloured eyebrows to our hair, by nature as well as from colouring our hair.
As the portrait’s skin tones start to take form I can look more closely at all the small changes in skin pigment and the shading around the neck, eyes, nose and ears. All those quirky angles of our facial features that make us individuals.
I always paint with care, the skin tones are never rushed, too much water in the pigment can easily washout the layers of pigment below and just to make life more difficult I prefer to work with primary colours as much as possible. I love the technical challenge of watercolour, too much pigment or too much sweeping of the brush and the painting can be ruined or maybe a rethink!
Thought an update on my current commissioned watercolour portrait was needed. I think it’s coming along nicely and my two lovely wedded subjects are getting a lovely warm bronzed tan. They started out rather blue, just to give the underneath structure and form to their skin and slowly the yellows and reds are adding the warmth.
These work in progress images are quick snaps taken with my iPhone. The finished portrait will be photographed professionally and in time added to my portfolio.