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Layering watercolor to paint portraits on ARTiful, painting demos by Sandrine Pelissier

Watercolor portrait painting tutorial with layering technique, watercolor crayons and wax paper cut-out

This is a portrait of my youngest daughter I painted some time ago. My daughter has a fascination for space exploration and wants to learn as much as she can about that subject, of course she wants to be a cosmonaut!I like to paint portraits that are telling a story, they are like illustrations of a book that the viewer has to make up. I also wanted that painting to talk about the magic of youth and the feeling that you have so many options possible for your future.

Here are the steps I took to paint this portrait:

drawing on paper and preserving whites

This is my drawing on Arches paper, I did preserve some whites with resist mainly for the eyes and patterns in the background

resist for the white of the eyes

I applied resist on the white of the eyes and for the highlight on the eye, as well as along the face where the light makes the skin appear white.

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.

separating colors by layering with watercolors

I am starting by painting a layer with yellow watercolor ( yellow Ocher and Lemon yellow)

wax paper cut-out

I am cutting out a few shapes in wax paper and will place them on the yellow watercolor layer in the background while the paint is still wet.

background with resist and wax paper cut-out

Here is a close-up of the background with resist and cut-out wax paper shapes. I want the background to be somewhat between a wall paper and a representation of my daughters thoughts.

red, pink and orange layer

Once the yellow layer has dried I paint a layer with different tones of red, aiming for variations that go from orange to more pink tones of red,

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.

Yarka St. Petersburg Professional Watercolor Pans

Same palette of traditional colors the great masters used a century ago. Liquid-poured means semi-moist pans respond instantly to a wet brush. 24 pans in plastic case. Also individual pans. – Master Set

Watercolor and watercolor crayons on paper

The last layer is a layer of blue, I am also using different tones of blue, from Ultramarine blue to Prussian blue. I accentuate the blue highlight on the hair, I then work on the background adding more definition to the patterns with watercolor crayons. You can see faint patterns where the wax paper cut-out were placed.