Progress on my portrait painting lessons

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.
The “crevices” aren’t black shadows.
Even the lips have soft edges and are made up of different colors.