Here is a small watercolor of my brilliant great-nephew, Ethan. He is modeling a “cow” hat his grandmother knitted for him. The only problem with that wonderful hat is that it covers up his curls!
8″x8″ watercolor on paper
I had a request from an overseas college student to talk about my palette. The rest of you can totally ignore the following…
I did give some thought to exactly how it is I paint and it can be hard to put that process into words. I use tube watercolors, all professional grade. Student grade colors won’t always have enough pigment in them to get richer colors. I look at shade and shadow first and usually lay in an ultramarine mixture (and I say mixture because my palette is so messy with color, all colors become mixtures) in those areas. I will then play with very warm (warm reds and yellows) but light colors for the warm areas of the face (cheeks, nose, chin, ears) and then do the same with cool colors (blues, lavenders) for the cooler areas like under the eyes, temples, upper lip. I let some of the colors mix on the paper.
Step away from the paper and look at it for a distance. The one thing that always surprises me is that although my colors look rich and deep up close under the table light, if I put them up and look at them 10 feet away, they are always washed out and too pale. So I go back and deepen up everything and try to be bolder with the color.
To get drips, make the paint thin and flooded then stand the paper upright and tap (or pound) the edge on the table until the paint starts to drip. You may have to add more thin paint to help the drips develop. Practice this before you do it to a great piece! Keep a paper-towel in your hand to pick up excess or too dark color immediately. For fun, after your drawing is on the paper but before you have started actually painting it, wet your paper and float light-in-value colors on your paper. Let that totally dry and then proceed like above. This will add interest to the colors on the face and can be a fun technique. Note that I did not do that to the piece above. Since I know this sweet boy and was trying to capture his likeness more than I wanted to paint for fun, I was rather tight with my drawing and painting.
This isn’t much of a tutorial but I hope it helps for what it’s worth. I will think about how I could document and share the painting process. Good luck with the studies!