Portrait in three colours

Since returning from Portugal I haven’t had much extra time to post demos and so here is the breakdown of a watercolour portrait using just three colours – Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Raw Umber Violet.

I always, without exception, begin a portrait with the eyes…..the window to the soul.  



At this early stage in the watercolour, I will know whether or  not I have captured my subject.    




I don’t usually work from photographs….however, in this instance, I was so drawn to the face of Peter Deunov, (1864 – 1944) I decided to do so.    When working from a photograph, no matter what the subject – the key is to use the image as the jumping off point, and to then make the painting your own. 


Peter Deunov had a lot of white hair and a beard, and so in this image, I will simply suggest the hair by leaving white paper, allowing the viewers imagination to fill in the gaps.     

It’s key in this image to leave the emphasis on the depth and intensity of his eyes. 


Throughout this portrait, I have used simple techniques.    Applying colour in the shadow areas, and then with a wet brush and no paint, I have pulled out the colour.     This gives me soft edges and alleviates the age old issue of mud in a watercolour. 

The finished image….




Wishing all my friends in the States and other countries a very Happy Mother’s Day this coming Sunday.    This is the one holiday that continues to confuse me.    In the UK we celebrate a month earlier!

A Bientôt

10 thoughts on “Portrait in three colours

  1. vicki snaddon

    Thank you Janet!
    wet brush, no paint, wet brush no paint, wet brush no paint……….

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      I laughed out loud when I saw your comment:) Thanks Vicki…hope the painting is going very well. I hope to get one or two demos a week on the blog….and so watch this space. Just had a dear friend from Paris visiting, and on Thursday an artist friend from S. Dakota, USA….and then another artist friend from S. Africa. Lots of painting in between. x

  2. Dr.rameshchandra Naidu

    we heard of you from SJ Rani of maidstone, Kent. The portrait in 3 colours looks deeply at you and leaves an after image to be remembered for a long time. Excellent!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning and thank you so much for your lovely comment.
      It was my great pleasure to meet Jayanthi recently in Portugal – I appreciate that she mentioned me to you. Janet.


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