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Layering watercolors to paint a portrait

Layering watercolors for portraits by Sandrine Pelissier on ARTiful painting demos
Painting technique / Step by step demonstrations

Layering watercolors to paint a portrait

For this watercolor and gouache portrait : Hair Balloons, I had a reference picture with a friend of my daughter with the wig, the crazy hair was my inspiration:)

Step by step watercolor and gouache portrait painting tutorial : Hair Balloons

This is my drawing, I didn’t put too much details, just a contour drawing with some marks around the areas where there are changes of colors, or tone.The paper is Arches cold press 140 lb. I applied a bit of masking fluid where I wanted to preserve some whites.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

 

Daler-Rowney Masking Fluid

This fluid is used to create striking white highlights or to mask areas for overpainting at a later stage. It forms a fast-drying, water-resistant film on watercolor paper and board, and is easily removed when dry.

I am starting with a layer of yellow ocher, adding more yellow where the colors are darker and where they contain more yellow. You can use a picture processing software to separate the colors from your reference picture.

You might be interested in :Tutorial : Corel Paint Shop Pro for layering watercolors

I am starting with yellow as this is the least transparent of the colors I am going to use. Painting with one color at a time allows you to focus on tone and edges.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

 

Da Vinci Artists’ Permanent Watercolors, 292 Yellow Ochre, 15 ml

Da Vinci paints are exciting, intense, and rated among the best in the world for quality. The paints are permanent, with the highest tinting strength and pigment concentration available, and a creamy consistency for smooth, easy dispersion with water.

I used two different reds here a colder red Alizarin crimson and a warmer red, medium red. I found using different tones of red on different places in the same area  keeps the red more bright. Like on the hair, you can see different tones of reds.

I start to paint some blue. As with the reds I am using 2 tones of blue. A warmer ultramarine and a colder Prussian blue

Here I am starting to work on the background. Because I want some really dark tones, I am using India ink for the first layer.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Speedball Super Black Waterproof India Ink

“Super black” means its blackness will be very permanent and fadeless. Contains 100% carbon black pigment. Also free-flowing, non-clogging, and waterproof.

I am using some gouache on the upper part of the background, on top of a layer of blue watercolor.I am using gouache as well in some parts of the hair and the sweater because I want to add more white and I feel that scrubbing would not be sufficient for the tones I want to achieve.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Holbein Acryla Gouache, 152 Chinese White, 20 ml

Acryla Designer Gouache is a fast-drying, opaque acrylic based watercolor paint. It’s water soluble while wet, and water-resistant, matte and opaque, even over dark surfaces. Great for grounds and layering.

Hair Balloons, watercolor and gouche

5/5 - (1 vote)

Comments (15)

  1. Kathy Dunback

    Sandrine, j’adore vos portraits d’enfants!

    1. Merci Kathy, cela me fait plaisir 🙂

  2. Susanne

    Such creative and fun subject matter. You will never forget that little event with such a wonderful painting. This is interesting in the more abstract way in which you handled your portrait, too.

  3. Eva

    Your work is magnificent! I love the creativity of the balloons in the wonderful red hair. Super!
    Thank you for joining my blog:O)
    Eva

    1. Thank you Eva. Your blog is great!

  4. This is fantastic and i like the way you have demonstrated the process too

    1. Thanks Artswebshow!

  5. This portrait just plain makes me smile. A young lady’s hair, her crowning glory. How fun!

    1. Thanks Leslie!

  6. Siggi

    Great painting and instructions that are clear and understandable thank you for that
    …where did the inspiration for the wonderful images of the balloons come from?

    1. Hi Siggi,
      I think the main inspiration for this painting came from the incredible hair. It is a pink wig my kids have in their costumes and it just has a shape that seemed to defy gravity, that gave me the idea of the balloons .
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  7. Hello,
    Thank you for the sharing. It’s beautiful, and I like very much the use of your three mediums and the subject is very well realized. Congratulation!

    1. Thanks Sandy! I am glad you liked it.
      I went on your blog, it is interesting to see you learn and have your impressions. I saw that you live in the South of France, nice!
      are you French ? I should translate my blog and my websites in French but haven’t had the time yet.

      1. Yes, I am French and I apologize for my bad English. I like very much the blogs where we share knowledge. I knew you through twitter.
        I shall return regularly.

        1. je suis francaise aussi. Ton anglais est tres bon, au contraire! et ton blog interessant. Merci de visiter mon blog 🙂

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