Portrait painting using watercolour

in 1995, I had an exhibition of portraits in Brittany, France.      The portraits were of people I had painted in the United States, Wales, England and France.

I was asked by the Gallery to give watercolour demonstrations during the month of the exhibition.    Given that it was based on portraiture, I decided to ask some of some of the local people to sit for me.

Although I had painted water colour portraits over the previous years, this proved to be the beginning of my painting spontaneous watercolour portraits wherever I travelled.      I quickly realised that using the spontaneity of watercolour, I could capture the essence of my subject in about thirty minutes or less. 

I painted this large portrait of Caroline, when giving a painting demonstration in Le Pecq, Paris some years after the exhibition in Brittany.

In this instance, I am painting the portrait on an already prepared cadmium orange ground.


I am using juicy watercolours from tubes – and as is always the case with my portraits of humans or animals, I draw with my brush and begin with the eyes. 


Caroline was a wonderfully colourful and dramatic subject….



I am feeling the urge to get on the road again and paint more portraits:)

A Bientôt

subjects with a sense of immediacy and 

10 thoughts on “Portrait painting using watercolour

  1. olganm

    Gorgeous. Like everything, you make it sound easy, but it’s anything but. It must have been a great experience for you and the seaters (and those watching!)

    1. janet weight reed

      Good morning, Olga…thank you. I have always enjoyed giving watercolour portrait demonstrations, because the outcome is as much a surprise to me as it is to the viewers. In this instance, I recall a wonderful sense of connection between my self, the subject and the audience.
      Happy Wednesday. Janet. x

    1. janet weight reed

      Good morning, Dina….Yes, my life has been interesting, to say the least, and I always remember that ‘none of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out’ – and so who knows what’s to come:) Have a lovely Wednesday…hope all is well with you, the furies and the garden. xxx


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