Trying Something New: Watercolor Portrait

watercolor on moleskine
watercolor on moleskine

I did this watercolor portrait in my little moleskine watercolor book.  And look!  No black lines!  There’s something new.  As much as I love my Microns, I was beginning to feel a little too dependent on them.   All of those solid black lines Iwas using were beginning to feel more like a safety net than an a tool for expression.  I’ll have to work out how I feel about that.

I was inspired by  Canadian arist Jean Pederson‘s book Expressive Portraits.    She uses  the wet glazing technique where you use transparent colors and layer them on wet paper instead of waiting for each layer to dry completely.  She shows how you can make gorgeous skin tones using this technique.   Here is a link to Jean’s portrait gallery.

I have so far to go, but this is a great start.   I’m definitely focusing on learning more about how to make striking portraits in watercolor.

Published by Mellanie C

sketch artist, daydreamer Figurative artist specializing in small format art and portraits.

11 thoughts on “Trying Something New: Watercolor Portrait

  1. I think this is wonderful! I love the smoothness you’ve achieved with the skin. I’m putting this book on my wishlist – did you find it is more inspiration from the pictures or does it give you clear instructions with paint mixing and application? I’m asking because of one of the criticisms on Amazon.


  2. Most of us would be pleased to reach this level after 20 years. U do it first try. This is really phenomenal.

    As for your Microns, now u can switch gears and use then for Zentangles.


  3. Beautiful portrait!

    I use a lot of black lines in my acrylic paintings, too, and I have mixed feelings about whether or not to try to let go of them.

    After all, line is a design element and it has a life of its own!


  4. I’m so glad you all like it. I am really enjoying how watercolors work. I’m used to oil painting so it takes a lot of getting used to.


  5. This is a beautifully vibrant portrait. I am a bit of a compulsive black liner too but haven’t really made the break yet. Takes a bit of courage…lol.


  6. I’ve been thinking about the black line thing, and although there is nothing wrong with using those lines to anchor the piece, I have to be especially careful about using them as a crutch.

    I’m not giving up lines. I feel like they are an essential part of how see things and express myself.


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