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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Portrait Demo Stage 3

©Anita Davies

Stage 3 - Adding Warmth

I always really enjoy stage 3, all of the hard work is done, my values are in and the face is looking 3-dimensional, right now I could pour any translucent colour over the paper and it would still be Ellie.

I use a couple of warm shades from my tricolour palette and break the warmth's down into cold and warmer:

Opera Rose (neat), for the pinker, cooler areas
Opera Rose mixed with yellow ochre for the deep peachy, sunny spots

Because these hues are placed over the top of an existing underpainting, they will produce new hues of their own in places, so no intricate mixes are required...we simply need to breathe life into Ellie's features.

Ellie's chin, cheeks and nose are the closest features in the painting and are also areas that generate heat, so these areas require a lashing of that sunny peach mix. Because the photo is backlit, Ellie's ears also require lots of warmth as does the crease in her neck just below the ear.

As her features tilt back away from the viewer the top section of the head, while still requiring heat, requires the cooler pink hue. When the pink is placed over the areas where I used the warmer shadow mix of Cerulean & Rose, the violet becomes stronger and more interesting.

As in stage two where remembering to add the darks is vital, in stage 3 remembering to leave the brightest of highlights is essential, they allow your darks to appear stronger and your form to appear more believeable, defining the direction of the light source clearly.


The entire painting stage took me approx 35 minutes, when I approach a commission I spend much more time on all aspects of the piece, including the sketch. Strange how we see a freedom in our journals that we fail to take over into our paintings.
I am happy with the looseness in this piece, I don' feel I lost anything in approaching Ellie's portrait this way and hope to remember this for future works.

I found this bright, candy coloured tricolour palette suits young children nicely. It is young and cheerful with it's soft dark mixes and it's elements of gentle warmth throughout.

Finally...A few more children watercolour portraits. I have selected 'Izzy' because of the focus on her eyes....In my opinion, the absolute key to any successful portrait, they unlock the soul: character, emotion, expression...they all live here in the eyes. Get them right and you are halfway there!

'Bethany' - painted 2004

'Kayeigh' - painted 2004

'Izzy' - painted 2005


Anonymous said...

I'm following this with great interest and learning lots. Thanks for sharing this piece as it unfolds. Would you normally wait a day for complete drying between glazes, or is this for the demo?

Anita Davies said...

I'm pleased you've found the demo helpful Shirley.
Normally I would just continue painting,the only real drying stage would be the underpainting so that my warm stage didn't disrupt it but the drying only takes half an hour or so.
I made three days posts out of this demo because I was also working on other things. I like to post everyday so using this as a 3 day post took the pressure off for a bit and allowed me time to catch up elsewhere. ;)

Sandy said...

What a fabulous demo - I learn so much from your blog, thank you so much for taking the time to document and share these !!

Just because said...

Anita, your artwork is very inspirational! Thanks for giving a newbie like me a challenge to rise to.


Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Great teaching Anita. a FIRST CLASS DEMO with bags of Glad yu posted some of your other children's portrait work. Izzie's eyes are pools of liquid.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

oops - looks like some text was replaced after '...bags of'. Should have said '...bags of colour and technique information'.

E-J said...

LOVELY work on these children's portraits, Anita!

I will admit that I'm not following the process itself too closely because something in me knows I will never be a watercolour portraitist ... but I AM glued to your progress.

I have done three-colour portraits before now, in soft pastel and oil pastel, and I enjoy the discipline of such a limited palette, even if I could never stick with it in the longer term. It is a perfect meeting point between colour and value, making it easier to observe and reproduce tonal values, while limiting the confusion/unrealistic effect that the temptation to use too many colours can bring.

Really impressed!

Serena said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful demo, Anita! I have never worked with watercolour so this is a totally new medium to me. Maybe I will be tempted to give it a go some day. Your work is inspirational as always.

suzanne said...

This is great Anita! It's so interesting to learn about how you achieve this realism...I wouldn't even know where to begin.

mARTa said...

Thank you for taking us through the process. It is obvious to see that wonderful portraiture doesn't just happen but is a well thought out process. These are all wonderful and full of vibrancy and life! I have started a college figure drawing class and we will be doing portraits as well. I am excited to begin but feeling a bit bad that I might not have much blogging time. But I will visit often!

Margaret Ann said...

Oh, those beautiful, chubby, little cheeks just cry out for kisses!

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Well, Marta Tagged me, and I'm tagging you. 5 things about you!! I am enjoying watching all the postcards come and watching FOR a postcard in my mail box.

Joan said...

Anita, Thanks for showing us your steps in this demo. I like your idea of using a triad for the skin tones. I wrote down your colors so I can play around with them and see how they work. I always have a difficult time with skin tones, especially when I was doing the sps for the portrait thread. This may make it a bit easier. Thanks again. Who is this little darling Ellie that you're doing the book about? I looked back in your posting but couldn't find that out.The book will be a wonderful gift to her.

Lost In Wonder said...

You paint children and babies very well. They're so difficult, what with their proportions being very different than adults.

Anita Davies said...

Thanks Sandy, so pleased you found it useful.

Thank YOU Mark!

Thanks Joannie ;)

I totally agree E-J. While 'limited palette' can sound restricting and give he impression of causing difficulty, I find it to simplify matters and would reccommend it to those trying portraiture for the first time. Infact, even when I work with a larger palette, once my colours are selected, I work from a monochrome reference right until the last half hour or so of my session.

Thanks Serena.

Thankyou Suzanne.

Thanks Marta. I'm envious of your figure class, I do hope you'll find enough time to share your work with us.

LOL...Don't they Just Margaret!!!

Dana, thanks for the tag. I've ben tagged before somewhere here.
Your postcard is now completed and showing on the PPP blog ;)

Thanks LIW. I agree, babies and children are deffinately more difficult, they are so easy to age!

*Thanks for the support and feedback everyone, I am so pleased my methods made sense to you and you found this demo interesting.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is the most thoughtful thing to do. I am going to be inspired with this exercise. I don't have any grands that live nearby that I could do this for but I am trying to do pets I know. I realize this isn't as important as a Grand but friends are enjoying my efforts as all their children are grown and there aren't many Grands amongst us.

I need to learn how to add color. It really brings them alive. I drew my Great Great Nephew for a christmas gift for his parents. I didn't add color. Color is good.