Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 2: Watercolor Portrait Workshop with Mary Helen Wallace

On day 2 of this workshop I decided to play a little. I told Mary Helen that I wanted to loosen up and she said, "Then do it." So I took the pre drawn child and lady with glasses and went to work. On both I put the original picture away and tried to paint their faces from memory. I felt by doing this it would keep me from being "stylized", as I was told on day 1. That worked about 5 minutes. The paintings were somewhat looser, but still had some hard lines. It was a good exercise for me.

Then Mary Helen gave a demo on how to do hair and background. She chose from memory a blond haired girl. While painting Mary Helen talked about:

  • How blond hair is not just yellow, but that blond hair is created with  greens and reds. 
  • How to utilize positive and negative shapes to create flowing and fly away hair which created movement. 
  • About the more you mix on the palette you will lose the sparkle of the paint and transparency. 
  • Too many layers can muddy or dull you colors. 
  • Let your colors mix on the painting, sometimes using a tender touch.
  • Dark behind light brings light forward.
  • Warm light into cool light makes interest.
  • Value puts together a balanced painting.
So back at my seat I took out a drawing of my first day model
and tried to re-do her.

This attempt, I feel, went much better. After playing in the morning and watching Mary Helen's demo, I think I loosened up and the colors blended better and softer on her face. The hands, not so much. I do feel I have taken away the techniques on working wetter and how to bleed off to keep areas lighter and softer. Mary Helen showed us on day 1 where to place light in the eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth to create the illusion of 3D on the 2D painting. This shows on my models lips, nose and forehead.


“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” ~Neil Gaiman

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