Tag Archives: making a painting your own

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