One of my students have asked me to post the demo that I did for a workshop on portraits from last week. This is a 2 hour painting (including dry time) using a limited pallette of quin gold, aliz crimson, Ultramarine blue, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber. Stage 1: Mask out any highlights or if you are really confident you can paint around them. Due to the small size of this little man I masked.
Stage 2 Sunshine : Wet your paper into the hairline, background, even the whites of the eyes. Wait until the sheen is gone from the paper and start dropping in your mid mix of quin gold. I love this color for 2 reasons. 1 it lifts easy, which comes in handy when laying down your road map and 2 it adds your sunshine. DRY
Stage 3 I added a little BS and BU just to place a few darks in the eyes and hair. DRY Then mix up a light mix of aliz crimson. This is a high power, staining color and should be used with care. It is way easier to add color then to take it away. Wet his little face again and start adding your turning points, this would be around the outside of the face, the side of the nose... the warm shadows on the facial planes. If you are finding that your paper is starting to get to dry, STOP, walk away and let it dry. If you overwork the skin will start to get streaky, and on a child that looks pretty garish. :0 You can always glaze in more color later
Stage 4: I added some more darks to the eyes. I also went back in and strengthened the red/oranges a little.
Stage 5: This stage was done in 2 parts. The background was first wet and a little of the blue color was dropped in. The light is coming in from the viewers left and there is a bright hightlight on the side of the face and top of head. So by adding the darker value around that area it will help to pop it later. DRY I also went in and started adding a few darks to his jacket. I am working a little more of a wet on dry at this point, as I need to control how far the paint moves. Some shadow colors were around his eyes, chin, right side of his face, dont forget the little divot under his nose and a little shadow under his nose to make it pop out a bit. DRY He is really starting to look human now.
Stage 6: Final adjustments were made to his face before adding just a simple hairline and a hint of clothing. Hope you enjoy.
4.5 * 4.5 inch
watercolor on 140lb Arches