Friday, August 10, 2012


Sorry I haven't posted for a while. I got sidetracked with some important issues and also am working on a very big job as a co-chair managing the entries for an upcoming show. I belong to the Hawaii Watercolor Society and call me crazy, but this is the second time I offered to manage the entries. It's a big job, but I kind of like it. Lots of entrants need some help with understanding how to enter digital images and its also a great way for me to chat with other artists. I still have lots to do on this project, however, I managed to find little pockets of time to work on my watercolor portrait.

When I came back to this piece I knew the facial features needed some corrections. I think this adjusted sketch is much better. Sometimes its good to step away for a bit, you can spot your problems before you go to far.


This is where I dared to start a first wash all over the painting to get my feet wet, as it were. Kind of scary when you don't normally paint people. Yes, I know the paper is wrinkled. I just don't like what happens to my paper if I stretch it, and this way I can tilt easier to get the paint to flow only where I want. By the time the painting is finished its usually flat again. And in the rare case that its not, I just spray the back with clear water, put a heavy piece of plexi on top and the next day, voila - a very flat painting.


I do have a plan for how I want this painting to look, but I also know myself. If I don't get started on the background very soon to start tying it all together I always mess up. Many artists who paint portraits or figures get a lot of work done on the actual figure first, so I guess I'm a little backwards, but this is right for me. I look at this piece as a lab experiment so I'll be all over the place. Here, I worked the background wet into wet, let colors flow and merge and before it was dry, lifted some lights. 


For this step I started to put wet into wet washes for the beginnings of the form/folds of the T-shirt. Next I started on some flesh tones on one arm, just to see how it goes and put in a darker background wash by the right side. I'm using small bits of paper to try out washes prior to laying them in too. So far its close to the way I want it to go. Wish me luck with the rest. Hopefully after my Imaging work is done, I'll do some more on this painting and post another update next week.



  1. Love seeing the early steps you take, Colleen.
    I certainly do wish you luck, as requested, but it seems to me you have everything under control. Looking forward to seeing the next steps,

    I understand how nice it is when you volunteer to help with a show, but it sure takes one away form painting. Glad you have figured out how the positives outweigh the negatives.
    Hope it is a really good show.

    1. Thanks very much Julie for commenting. I am enjoying this portrait piece so much more than I thought I would and that may lead to others. Ideas are percolating right now. Over the next few days I'll finish my Imaging work and can continue on. Can't wait. Take care Julie, and Happy Painting.

  2. It's really really great to see the detailed step-by-steps and thanks for sharing your process! You must be really busy with the show right now -- and thank you very much for your help regarding my entry! I will wait for you to share the next steps -- take care and happy painting!

    1. Thanks so much for checking in Arena. I have been busy with show stuff. I just finished off the letters to the artists and stuffed all the envelopes today, they'll be mailed tomorrow. With all the forms etc. lots of work for sure. Hopefully next week its back to painting until the next round of work closer to show time. You take care too, love your work.


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