View Full Version : First watercolor portrait

05-13-2003, 10:01 AM
I finally got the courage to attempt a portrait in watercolor. Did this first in sepia (resembles the graphite with which I am comfortable ), then took a deep breath and did it again in color.

Thought I would post it in the watercolor portrait challenge project, but did not sign up for it in time. But decided to ask your opinions anyway. Thanks, jocelynsart, for the reference photo.


* The cheek area that would be infront of the ear seems flat.
Will likely add more color and shadow there, hoping I don't
ruin it.

* The eye was most difficult--scrubbed out and tried again, so I
don't think I want to work that area again, though it isn't quite
what I want it to be.

* Don't know how to do the hair.

Your suggestions and critiques are requested.


05-13-2003, 10:13 AM
I don't do portraits, but I think this one is wonderful! Fookie will probably post to this thread and let you know exactly what she thinks--she's great at portraits, as are many others on this forum!

05-13-2003, 10:50 AM
Boy oh boy, this is really coming along great... in fact, you're nearly finished. You don't have to do much to the hair... I would dampen a brush and gently draw it through the brown blob to create a few strands... I don't think her cheek area looks flat and the eye is great... On my laptop, the whole picture appears a little light, but I can't depend on what I'm seeing because of the crummy monitor.

... and Lyn is right... Fookie will have some excellent suggestions, if any are needed, to finish this up!!!

05-13-2003, 11:02 AM
In my opinion, I think it's done. a beautifully soft delicate rendering. I especially like the dark against light where her face meets the hair on the right. :) maybe a very few dark darks in the deepest shadows of the hair could be added.


05-13-2003, 11:05 AM

I agree...it's all but done

great job!

add a couple well placed darks and BUY A FRAME!

lyn lynch
05-13-2003, 11:10 AM
Please, I don't like being singled out. I'm a beginner just like so many on this forum, plus my work is weird, I NEVER work w/o blobs and drips, which is not for the un-odd. Plus, my work never turns out the same.

I love this Joss. Isn't she beautiful and a wonderful reference shot! I hope you pm her to see this image; she does not often come into Watercolor, that I know of. She will want to see it!

I would leave this alone; Joss looks light skinned, w/o high color aspects; this is how I would expect to see her IRL. I would call this DONE. I think it is lovely. If you are dissatisfied w/any of the aspects, put this one in the drawer and do another of the same refererence for comparison.

If you have not already done so, go into the project and view the FINAL of all works done, several have done this fab reference of Joss and see how they did it.


05-13-2003, 11:15 AM
Beautiful! You have done a fantastic job!!!

I wish I could go in and edit the project to let you in but I can't.

05-13-2003, 03:42 PM
Jonab: Thanks for letting me know. No, I tend to not peek into watercolour as much even though it is my main medium choice for portraits.
This is very very well done! I'd call it done too. You have worked well with the low contrast subtle feel. The only thing I know I'd touch is the eyebrow. It could use some light sienna defining hairs. Eyebrows are my favourite feature in portraits oddly enough.
You did fantastic with the hair and the subtle shadow and light in the skin tones here. I have ivoryish skin. Yes, I'd say that is my skin! The floating head actually works here because the back of the hair does not continue.
If you do want to fix that cheek a bit, I'd just wash a thin viridian green loosely near the hair, coming slightly out round a bit, but not alot past. You can scrub it back if you find it too intense or tone it a bit with sienna before you use it.
Nice vignette feel to it.
Yes, the dark backing the light face really works excellent here!
This is terrific and I am thrilled with it!!!!
You are very welcome for the use of the photo. Thank you for picking it for a first portrait!
Thanks Fookie!

05-13-2003, 03:58 PM
Lyn, Char, em, Pam, Auntie, fun-to-cook, and Joss:

Thanks for all those favorable comments. Have been wanting to try watercolor portraits for a long, long time, but was too unsure of my ability to control the medium well enough. But, I am so pleased with this one--can't stop me now--watch for coming attractions.

Strawberry Wine
05-13-2003, 05:20 PM
Very very well done Beth. It is soft and beautiful.

Excellent:clap: :clap: :clap:


05-13-2003, 05:44 PM
It's beautiful, and I think it's done. Don't do much more to it or you will lose that nice fresh look. Good job!


05-13-2003, 06:05 PM
Gail and Michelle: Thanks for commenting. Glad you like it.

05-13-2003, 08:27 PM
It's a beautiful and sensitively rendered portrait!!!

Little Old Lady
05-13-2003, 08:37 PM
I agree it is done and wonderfully done at that!

05-13-2003, 09:05 PM
Beautiful and Done!!!

05-14-2003, 12:43 AM
I think this portrait is great, my eyes are filling in her back, because it appears she's looking to the right, with her back towards us

05-14-2003, 02:01 AM
Wonderful! Interesting pose too

05-14-2003, 03:01 AM
Beth, Congratulations on your first portrait in watercolor. Here's to many more of that caliber!


05-14-2003, 10:47 AM
Thank you Nina, Jo Ann, Uschi, pbmerrmaid, Sher, and Roberta!

Thanks for looking and commenting. Your words of approval are soooo encouraging.

05-14-2003, 10:58 AM
Great work.......agree about the eyebrow........but not a real big dea IMHO.......
Looking forward to seeing more of these.....

05-14-2003, 01:46 PM
I think your hair texture is really well done--enough detail to describe it, but not so much to be distracting. Maybe just a touch of shadow in the corner of the eye or one side of the iris to give it a round, eyeball feeling, but it isn't really necessary. Good portrait debut--keep with it!

05-14-2003, 03:13 PM
Very nice work! I wouldn't dare begin a portrait in any medium let alone watercolor.

You've painted an excellent piece!