work in progress … Child’s Portrait

I’m back with a  few more changes.  I put in the cushions on the chair, I made them a bit larger than in the photo because I need this bright color to give it the feel it needs.  I have left out the last cushion on the left because I’m still debating on what color it should be.  That’s because I haven’t decided if the shirt will be light blue or dark green … I painted it light blue to see how the contrast of warm and cool color looks side by side and also because I know I can always change it.  Light blue is a color you can change because most colors will cover this light color.  Right now, its Manganese blue and I don’t think I had that on the  original list of colors.   You might want to take note of it.

  Just to give you a little background on what s been going on in my studio.  I have this portrait on an easel and of course everyone who visits makes their comments.

 Remember I have a number of friends who are also professional artists or photographers.  I find it amusing what they think is good or what I should change.   The first thing is… None of them seem to agree on anything, one will tell me to widen his chin, the next one will say… no leave it as it is because it will make him look too old.

Then there are  the non artists who say things like… where’s his other arm?  They can’t see the process as well.  I did put his other Arm today.  It only has the initial first glazes and I’ll bring it up to the correct value later.  This arm being behind the other arm will have to be a bit cooler and not as warm so it stays behind the binoculars.   I’ve decided not to make the background too busy because this will take away from he young boy’s face.   I will put in the stand of trees and I’ll have to pay attention to the push pull of the lights and darks.   Where the background meets the light part of the face I will want the background to be darker and visa versa.  This will give the painting movement and also help to create the illusion of space and depth.  

To answer your questions…

When softening use a bristle brush because it does not hold as much water as a sable and will soften without creating a back run.  Only run the damp brush along the edge you want to soften. if you want a graduated wash, its best to wet the surface of the paper where you want the gradation.  This will give you more time to work and as long as your paper stays damp, you should be able to paint an area without hard lines.   Start at the darkest corner, drop the color in by taping the point of the brush into the paint then onto the paper where you want the darkest area and continue across the wet area until you want it to start lightening, add a little bit of water to this fist puddle of paint then pick some up with the tip or edge of your brush and  ( first touch the brush to a sponge or a set of towels to take out any drips or excess water) then apply this lighter color to the area  where you just left off… continue doing this until your color is at least 1/2 as light as the darkest area.  This will create a subtle change ( because the paper was wet) and not allow lines to form between the changes.   Anytime I tell you to wet the paper first …you should paint on clean clear water and not have any puddles and also do not paint hard, use a light touch because you do not want to remove all the sizing from the paper.

If your unsure if water is covering the entire section tilt the paper to the side and look for the sheen on the surface of the paper, this will tell you how much water you have and if you’ve missed any spots.  The water should not be runny or drippy this would be too wet.  The surface of the paper should have equal amounts of water so it will not dry unevenly , it should have a sheen but no puddles.  This one variable is the one thing that makes most folks not want to paint in watercolor or  if they do paint in Watercolor, they will not use much water. So…  If you can learn this, you will be able to  paint almost anything.  If you have any other questions or comments chime in I

I’ll write you back and answer all your questions.  This is almost finished and my plan is to have it finished by Friday.   So speak up now cause we are moving to a totally different type of painting next.


Its one am and I’m seeing spots in front of my eyes.  Good night all.


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