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!