my creative resolution

Hoping to draw, paint and create my way through 2014!


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Practicing Watercolor Portrait

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Today I practiced painting a portrait. I think I am making some progress in adding in shadows without making the skin look blotchy. [Blur the edges!]

Beach girl is a character I have been trying to illustrate. She is inspired by my daughter (when she was younger). I’ve struggled with painting beach girl’s face. So, I selected a photo of my daughter to work from. I figure when I’ve mastered painting her face, I can then, work on a less detailed, more illustration style version. I am finally starting to capture some of the elements that resemble my daughter.

Here are some of my steps:
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This one looks like an alien!
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Watercolor Rose of Sharon Flower

roseofsharon
I’ve been working on this watercolor flower – a Rose of Sharon, I believe – since last week. I was walking by it, after my run, and took a bunch of photos. It’s funny how you notice things when you are walking or running, that you wouldn’t notice when driving by. It was a “stop and smell the roses” moment. That’s one of things I like about running. It’s a time to think and notice the things around you.

I’m happy with how the flower came out. Especially when I reviewed the stages the painting went through:
roseofsharon1 roseofsharon2 roseofsharon3


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Progress on my portrait painting lessons

portrait
Halfway through my first lesson and I’ve learned a lot so far! Here are the key things:

  • Skin color is a mixture of many colors. You don’t pick a tube and say this will be the color. For the demonstration I’m following, I started out using a Yellow, a Rose and Cobalt Blue.
  • Work wet with light washes. I first painted a wash of the yellow and then added the rose to it. In certain spots I dropped in the Blue.
  • One of the most important things I learned was - soften the edges! Whenever I added a “shadow area” I would soften the edges. This was one of my main mistakes in the past. I would paint a shadow area, not soften the edges and the result would be blotchy looking skin.
  • Painting skin is a gradual build up of colors. Before, I would paint the face a solid and then try to add in the shadows.

I am excited about my progress so far! Watching TV last night, I was noticing the shadows that make up the face.

My “lesson” is from “Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages and Skin Tones,” by Suzanna Winton. I picked one of her demonstrations and I’m following along, trying to recreate it.

Here are my steps:
His face looks like a rainbow.
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The “crevices” aren’t black shadows.
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Even the lips have soft edges and are made up of different colors.
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Painting outside of my comfort zone

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Last week I must have been feeling extremely ambitious, when I decided to paint not only a portrait in watercolor, but a portrait of my husband and I! It was a fun photo of us at the beach and I thought – why not? I think I thought with the hat and sunglasses it would be easy. lol!

Things went along smoothly until I got to the faces, where I encountered a struggle similar to painting my “beach girl’s” face. Both faces were partly in shadow and no matter what I did, the skin looked blotchy and unnatural. I realized that, quite simply, I lack the “know how” to paint the highlights and shadows on a face while maintaining the smooth look of skin.

Despite this, I still think I did a decent job. Towards the end, I relied heavily on watercolor pencil, to add in the shading. But the main reason I feel good about this project is that I identified what training I need. Not only that, but I found a book that will help me in this area. I’m very excited to follow along with the step-by-step demonstrations in this book, “Realistic Watercolor Portraits: How to Paint a Variety of Ages and Skin Tones,” by Suzanna Winton.

Here were my steps:
I started sketching in a light watercolor pencil, because I figured I could erase any lines I wanted to. Then I added in the color – except for the faces.
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Once I started adding paint to the faces, things got blotchy and funny looking.
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I went back and forth with paint and pencil trying to get the right shading and trying to get it to look smooth.
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Figure Drawing – update on my Summer project

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I keep a sketchbook in my beach bag and try to pull it out while we are at the beach. I wish people would stop moving! – lol. Last week I realized I’d forgotten a pencil. So, I snapped a couple of photos of people by the shore. When I got home I sketched them. They were easier to draw – since they were staying still. :)

Here are my previous posts on this subject:
1. Figure Drawing – My Summer Project
2. Figure Drawing – the inside of the body


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Thank you to all my followers!

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Last week I decided to try my hand at lettering. I love the look of painted words in a watercolor. I kept painting “thank you.” I think I was hopefully anticipating one more follower which would bring me to 100. A goal I couldn’t even fathom when I started. Since last week, several new followers have pushed me past this goal. So, I want to thank all of my followers! Your feedback is an amazing source of motivation to me!


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Watercolor Shell

shell
Any advice for me?… I struggled with getting the shell to pop and look 3D, as opposed to smooshed in the sand. I know some of my problems were because: I painted this from a real shell and the background was made up. I used colors in the sand that I should have used in the shell. Since I didn’t want the shell to blend in, I used brown paint and it became a dark muddy mess. I sat down to paint at several different points and the shadows were probably changing.

Why is it that “struggled” is one of the most common words I write?! lol. Oh well, you paint and you learn. :) Not sure I want to attempt a redo on this one. Hoping to hear your comments!

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