31 December 2010

2010 top 10

Well, I've just been over at Crystal Cook's fabulous blog, where she has her top 10 paintings of 2010 - all beautiful paintings! She's suggested we all do the same, so here are my top 10 from what I've managed this year...

In no particular order...

Emily, watercolour, 11 by 15"

Her watchful place, watercolour, 11 by 15"

Charcoal portrait, A4

When I was a child, acrylic, 10 by 14"

If the wind changes direction, acrylic 10 by 14"

That basset look, watercolour, 11 by 15"

The glance, watercolour, 8 by 10"

Tom's old spot, watercolour, 8 by 10"

Faithful, watercolour, 8 by 10"

Best friend, watercolour, 8 by 10"

Have a happy and creative New Year - all the best for 2011!

29 December 2010

Her watchful place

So here's the finish of the WIP posted earlier. I added another couple of thin washes, including a warm yellow to warm up the left hand side of the face, which has a nice glow to it. I think I should probably stop fiddling with it now...

Watercolour, quarter sheet (11" by 15"). Reference by babasteve on Flickr under creative commons - thanks!

26 December 2010


I painted this one for my cousin Emily, 21 years old today :-)

What a great model :-)

Quarter sheet (11 by 15").

Happy birthday Em!

19 December 2010

Her watchful place WIP

Here's a work in progress, another portrait painting for the online portrait group I belong to. I'll post the finished image later (if it ever gets finished, you never know!), but as I remembered to take some pics along the way this time, I thought I'd share them here. Colours used were scarlet lake, new gamboge, lemon yellow, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, payne's grey, sepia, indigo.

 I started off with a drawing, using a grid to help me place the features and to speed up the drawing process. A good drawing is an absolute must I reckon. I then put in some initial washes - a warm yellow on the left, a cool yellow on the right, and a blue wash for some areas of the face, hair and surrounds, all according to what I reckoned I could see in the reference photo.

 I let the washes dry completely (this is where I often run into trouble with watercolour, being impatient and diving in too soon!). I've added some red/orangey and purple tones to the hair and ear shadow.

Again on dry paper, I've put in a reddish wash across the face, defining the areas of shadow and light. For the neck, which is pretty much entirely in shadow and darker than the face, I've gone with a purple wash. For the highlights, I either avoid painting the area altogether, or I use kitchen paper to blot away the colour where it's not needed, which actually produces a nice soft gradation for the edges, good for portraits.

More thin washes and blotting of highlights, and defining of shadows, under the eyes for example.

Yet another thin layer or two on the face, plus I added the background colour.

More layers to deepen the skin tones and blotting of highlights and pale areas on the face, and I've added texture to whatever it is she's hiding behind (something wooden, anyway). At this point it was looking a bit blotchy, but not to worry, it can be fixed with more washes...

 ...so more washes, drying in between, to smooth out the blotchiness a bit. This is the point I've left it at, though I think it still looks a bit blotchy, and I'm wondering whether I can go deeper with the skin tones without it getting overworked. But she does have a bit of a ragamuffin feel as is, so maybe I'll leave it...

Watercolour, 11" by 15". Reference photo by babasteve on Flickr, under Creative Commons.

07 December 2010

portrait sketch

Here's a drawing for a portrait painting I have planned. The ref photo is by babasteve on Flickr. There's a lot going on with light and shadows; I often find it helpful to do a drawing to help me focus on potential sticky areas.

Did this last night while listening to the England cricket team finishing off the Aussies (yay!)

A4 pencil sketch.

Life drawing

Here are a few more from recent weeks:

Not sure how long this pose was for, but I can assure you that the model didn't have a 5 o'clock shadow (such are the perils of using charcoal!)

 This one was a 25-minute pose, pencil.

This was, I think, another 20/25 minute pose. Here, the tutor gave us each a small piece of card, about an inch and a half square, along with a piece of charcoal. We had to load the edge of the card with charcoal, and use this as a drawing implement.  I really like the result.

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