View Full Version : Portrait of Sir Winston Churchill

08-14-2009, 04:13 PM

Title: Portrait of Sir Winston Churchill
Year Created:
Medium: Watercolor
Surface: Watercolor Paper
Dimension: 8
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This is my first portrait I have ever attempted to draw or paint. It was a hard task at the beginning. I did not know how to work with the different skin tones… But at the end, I enjoyed every minute painting Sir Winston Churchill.

Any suggestions will be appreciated. I like to know how to get the right skin tones. <br>Thank you

08-15-2009, 12:11 AM
I've just recently begun doing watercolor portraits too. My instructor, Ann Winchester, achieves such luminosity using watercolors for portrait work. She has a website if you'd like to see some great examples of what can be done. http://www.winchesterstudio.com/

My favorite part is the nose, and the expression lines. Good shading/shaping.

If I were going to change one thing - I'd add some color to the whites of the eyes. One of the things Ann has stressed many times in class is that really, the whites of the eyes are not white.

To achieve good skin tone, Ann teaches us to do many layers of washes. It gives a richness and depth to the skin. We always start out with an overall wash of something like New Gamboge and Quin. rose - including over the whites of the eyes, and the teeth. The next step is to darken the main shadow areas (the large shapes). Then we start looking for smaller shadow/highlight shapes, and layer them in. The Artists Workshop TV has some portrait videos by Jan Kunz that I have found very helpful.

08-15-2009, 07:01 AM
Well, you've caught his likeness and correctly drafted the features in his face. While you ask about skin tones, I don't think you've done too badly in that area. The most obvious weak area, IMO, is the eyes. They are usually the key to a portrait. As Mary said, the whites need to be darker but also the irises are way too light. And you need some dark areas around the eyes to create a sense of volume and roundness; also a little shadow across the top of the eyes just under the lid.

Now about that tie. You should not have the greatest area of contrast in Winnie's tie. Blur and deemphasize that part of the painting.

08-15-2009, 11:21 AM
Good suggestions and comments above.

Here's one more - the next time you do a portrait, instead of centering the nose, center one eye.. usually it's best the center the one closer to the viewer. That will create a natural focal point and de-center your composition, making it more interesting.

Dana Design
08-15-2009, 12:00 PM
I'd say that the eyes are far too large for the facial proportions. Reducing the size of the eyes and as suggested above, placing some shadows would truly improve this and make you very happy with your first portrait.

08-15-2009, 12:50 PM
Yeah, darken the eyes, etc., establish a light source and ramp up the contrasts and this could happen -- see my crude alt, with light coming from the right and shadowing to the left.


08-15-2009, 06:43 PM
Holy cow allanom....point so well illustrated....
looks just like yours patgib...only on steroids...hahaha
it really does look just like him...great first portrait in my book....
and an great first post too...look forward to more.....yd

08-15-2009, 10:26 PM
Congratulations on this first portrait! The above advise is valuable and given cos you definitely have a talent for this most difficult genre.

08-17-2009, 09:53 AM
To all you, I do appreciated all the feedback and suggestions. I am going to re-work the portrait, trying to apply all your suggestions. I am a begginer in watercolors as well as being I am self taught. I have only been painting for a few months. So it may take me a bit of time. Once again thank you for the time all of you took in reviewing my work.