Boldly Forwards!

After watching a couple more of Stan Miller’s videos on painting portraits, I felt emboldened to have a go from a photo. I browsed our family pictures, and found one of my husband which was shot in dawn light, and so had good contrast on the face.

It turned out that I changed a lot of the process in this portrait, when compared to my usual approach. I don’t normally work from photos, but I have to say that this simplified matters enormously. Not having to translate 3D to 2D is a massive advantage, and then the benefit of the subject being still can’t be underestimated!

I also decided to restrict my colour use and employ Stan’s three-colour technique for this one, having loved the results he achieved. However, he didn’t give the names of the three primary colours he used, so I had to guess (and then take what I had available). A while ago I was given an assorted box of tube paints, which I don’t normally use, as I find pans more convenient and less wasteful when I’m out and about sketching. The tubes turned out to be really instrumental in helping me get the depth of colour I needed. I chose French Ultramarine, Cad Yellow Light and Permanent Rose. I’d actually have liked a less pink red, but not to worry.

I dug out a half-inch flat brush in addition to my No.6 round, which I normally use for everything. The flat brush gave some really nice sweeping lines, and helped me with lifting out in the odd area ( e.g. the goatee beard with ‘senior highlights’).

IMark Calif Watercolourt felt a bit intimidating using such bright and bold  colours, but once I got over the shock, I really enjoyed the process. I didn’t feel that the French Ultramarine was dark enough for the background blue, so I used some Winsor Blue with the Permanent Rose instead, which I think worked ok. In retrospect I think I should have used a brown or orange over the right shoulder instead of the pink, but I’m not going to worry too much about that. I also think that there should have been more light areas on the left side of his face, but once again, I’ll bear than in mind for another time. My favourite area is the hat!

You know, I feel quite a sense of achievement with this portrait. I hope that my husband will like it, because I really think it’s a decent likeness…

39 thoughts on “Boldly Forwards!

    • Aw, thank you for the lovely compliment! I think I watched videos 1-9, but they are all quite short and do-able in small chunks (about 5 mins each). I definitely found them interesting and helpful, worth a watch and throwing into the mix… 🙂

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  1. Wow, I wish Stan could see this! Woo, you really have done it, Rebecca. (I’m still afraid to try.) I love the colors and I think this is fantastic. As Nicola said though, you were good at this prior, but I think Stan really does simplify the process. Although he is a pro, so that’s probably what all pros do. You could easily be a commercial for his method with this painting!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, if you’d used watercolour paints before, and if you chose your picture carefully (one with lots of contrast) and got the basic drawing/tracing right, looking carefully at where the darks, mids and lights were, I’d say you’d stand a pretty good chance. 🙂 🙂 Does this mean what I hope it does? (By the way, with me it all goes on, good and bad – the internet can take it or leave it! 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh please, if I had a problem with posting bad art, I’d have never started this blog or posted anything lol! But I don’t post absolute total junk. Well, not always. lol. There have been a couple things that haven’t made it here. But most of the time I have very little time for art, so everything I make for this blog has been done under a rush. I sometimes question the wisdom of that. But if I didn’t do things rushed, I probably wouldn’t do them at all.

        I don’t know. I still think I’m not good enough to even attempt a watercolor portrait. I could get the drawing ok, most likely. And finding that great photo with really good lighting, also key! I bet your husband will love this. 💛

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      • I applaud that sentiment! I find your blog fascinating in the way it tracks your rapid improvement. I’m in the same boat really with time – always squeezing it in when I should be doing something else…I think the progress you are making is astounding and testament to your dedication. I wish I had your wonderful attitude – I can see it truly gets results! 🙂

        By the way, husband just got in and doesn’t think it looks quite like him… what can you do? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tell him HE should try it lol! I think you’d have to be an expert portrait and watercolor artist to get a true likeness your first time out with a new technique! Your work is always impressive and you’re to be commended, Rebecca.

        And thank you for your encouragement. I do appreciate it. I thought my July watercolor project would get me to a much better place with the medium than where I stand right now. So I’m still enthused by art, but feeling a bit deflated at the moment. 😕

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think you have made huge strides; it seems to me that progress isn’t linear, and enthusiasm waxes and wanes… Indeed, I’ve noticed that sometimes I need a little break to get back on track. But the discipline of the blog is definitely a good motivator, and not to be sniffed at. Keep heart! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just to echo what’s been said here already – I’m enjoying introducing myself to your work! – a beautiful portrait here Rebecca, with great balance of colour; even the blues seem warm and inviting, such is their vividity (I don’t think that’s a word but let’s go with it!). Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, that’s so interesting to hear! I took pot luck on the colours; it’s really good to know that I made decent choices. I’m amazed and inspired to think that you created that beautiful portrait with just three colours!


    • Thank you very much Graham. I always find backgrounds troublesome, and did actually make an effort to tie the colours in to the subject, so it’s very gratifying that you noticed! 🙂


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