Portraiture in Watercolor

Portraiture in Watercolor

I am super happy to post this painting. I was honored to complete this portrait for some friends of mine who commissioned the piece after seeing the Paintings for Presents that I posted.

The concept to use their daughter as Max from “Where the Wild Things Roam,” was serendipity at it’s best. I’d been thinking about how to make this a piece that would be something different than the classic portrait. One of the places that I found inspiration was with Gustav Klimpt, in that he often uses the 2d and the 3d to great effect. So initially, I thought it would be something like a Klimpt, in that there’d be a bold shape, and the the figure would fit in it. As I went through some sketches, I happily stumbled upon Max. From there it was shooting reference pics to support the idea. Knowing that the images we’d taken at the playground would be my only reference, I shot many pictures, and endeavored to match one or two to a scene.
Technically speaking, the painting was challenging to work on. After arriving at a drawing that I liked, moving to a painting can sometimes be an opportunity to flub things up, but good. This is of course always the case, but we must persevere through those moments. So, I prepared the board, and smeared Cobalt Blue over everything but the Max suit which was to be white, and set into painting.
I tried my best to keep the momentum going for the painting, and to not allow myself to be bogged down in details to early. Following the 3 rules that I learned when first learning to paint in watercolors: Work big to small, back to front, and warm to cool.
In the end I enjoyed the concept and the process from gathering reference pictures, to drawing and painting the finished piece. There’s just no way to express the feeling of making a blend happen ‘just so,’ or working life into the face. It is just a joy to paint, and to have others enjoy it in the end.

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Watercolor Process

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