Day 1: Watercolor Portrait Workshop with Mary Helen Wallace

I recently went to a 3 day workshop by Mary Helen Wallace on portraiture in watercolor. Mary Helen is an inspiration and I learned many tips from her. 

On day 1, Mary Helen began the workshop going over the the importance of having a good drawing to begin any painting. She stressed the use of a 2H pencil to draft your painting and draw lightly and use a soft eraser (white plastic or kneeded) to take away any unnecessary lines.

Mary helen went over the facial features as she drew each one. She explained how the eye sits in the socket; the cartilage in your nose, the philtrum and nostrils; the flesh and angles of the cheekbones and jaw line; the upper and lower lip; the chin and the ear. As Mary Helen spoke of each part she touched them then drew them. Then Mary Helen sent us to our spots to create/finish our drawings we brought with us. 

At this point I will tell you that my motive for taking this workshop was to 1) learn to become a little looser in my technique 2) skin-tones 3) gender differences and 4) age differences when painting a portrait 5) and watercolor painting tips. By having an agenda I was not concerned to have a finished painting. All my "models" were pictures from magazines or my photo gallery. I had them pre drawn before the classes began. 

In the afternoon Mary Helen went over the color wheel using her palette. Her palette consists mostly of Winsor Newton watercolor paints (Perm Rose, Windsor Blue (Red), Cad Orange, Cad Red, Cad Lemon, Sap Green, Brown Madder, Cerulean Blue, New Gamboge) and Grumbacher (Thalo Yellow Green)

Mary Helen says that all the colors that you need can be made from this list. I choose the model of color to begin my first portrait. I soon learned that Mary Helen's palette worked well for this model. I used mostly Brown Madder, Permanent Rose, New Gamboge and Winsor Blue (Red Shade) to create the faces rich honey tones.                                                                                             
I admit that I was having a hard time blending the tones and keeping the flow soft.  Mary Helen said my style for this portrait was stylized. 
Stylized, which means:
Adj.1.stylized - using artistic forms and conventions to create effects; not natural or spontaneous; "a stylized mode of theater production"
artificialunreal - contrived by art rather than nature; "artificial flowers"; "artificial flavoring"; "an artificial diamond"; "artificial fibers"; "artificial sweeteners"


"When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile."



There you are!
Great to hear you are painting and blogging again.
Looking forward to seeing more.
Gaylynn said…
Thanks Nancy. I am trying very hard to get back to it. Summertime is making it easier.
Gaylynn, My name is Tony Waller, I write an Art Blog called: Waller Yoblonsky Fine Art Blog, ie: Waller Yoblonsky blogspot. I am currently doing research on Mary Helen Wallace. I was wondering if I could interview you....

my email is:

And you can find my blog on Google....Thanks for your consideration.