How to paint a portrait in watercolor

How to paint a portrait in watercolor


This is a live recording from one of Kim’s lessons at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Please forgive the amateur nature of this film. It was recorded on a cell phone. Kim uses three colors only. Rose Madder Genuine, Cobalt Blue and Aureolin Yellow. Using three colors creates more color harmony in your painting. Try not to correct until you are at the end of the painting. Kim is working wet on wet. Use a dry brush on the wet to achieve softness and still keep control of the strokes. Work around the picture not staying in one area. To achieve darks, use very little water and thicker paint. Wait to paint in the darkest darks until the end of the painting. Background should be painted wet on wet to achieve a soft impression, keeping the detail for the face. The same 3 colors are used in the background as in the foreground. You can mix on the paper instead of the palette.. At this point, the painting looks bad because you haven’t added the darks. Most people give up at this stage. Don’t give up. You are almost there. Add darks in the features and then step back. If you have difficulty making darks, you can add black to the 3 colors. Notice how Kim is still using the same brush for the eye detail. Leave a white highlight on the pupil. Kim is pulling out some color from the pupil with a thirsty (dry) brush. The shadows in the skin are brushed on after paper dries. The shadows are made with Rose madder and Aureolin with a hint of blue to neutralize. The shadow under her bottom lip is darker than her bottom lip. Kim is scrubbing out a dark line on her bottom lid. Kim is using a scrubby to remove the dark. Scrub with a clean brush, rinse and repeat until desired effect.

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