How To Paint The Female Face In Watercolors
This is a wonderful speed painting portrait of a young woman which really captures the elegance and subtleties of the face.
The artist uses a variety of round and fine watercolour brushes throughout the painting and begins with a medium round brush to highlight the tones around the eye and nose region. The portrait is lightly sketched out beforehand to ensure maximum effort on the actual watercolour painting and minimise the amount of time spent correcting and reworking key areas.
With the small fine tip watercolour brush she begins to outline the iris and the white of the eyes to immediately draw structure within the portrait. The benefit of the fine detail brush is its ability to construct and build up areas of a painting very quickly and instantly bring it to life. This is a slightly unorthodox approach of using the detail brush so early on in the painting but in this artist’s case she is very confident with the paintbrush and the features like the eyes and nose are achieved very quickly. The tones and color palette she has used are very complimentary to one another so it is clear that she is very aware and respectful of the subtle fleshy tones the human skin retains.
Notice how the artist uses a crimson confidently to contrast against a more neutral tone like pale ochre to really accentuate the areas which need to be brought to the foreground. Once the details of the eyes and nose have been accomplished it is time for the medium round tipped brush to once again take to the watercolour paper to cover larger areas of flesh around the lips and left hand cheek. The brush is loaded with water and the desired watercolor and applied generously creating a bleeding effect very unique to this artist’s style of work. She allows the brush to flow across areas in a manner which is very deliberate and instantly creates a textural feel within the portrait. Her painting technique is exciting, fresh and very contemporary and the choices of colors are less earthy, and deliver a more vibrant composition.
With the medium brush she applies dabs of purple, blues and greens to the paper and allows the watercolors to merge organically and generate a semi-accidental fusion of colors. She then builds on these colors with a similar technique which gradually builds depth within the painting. The artist then brings out a selection of pens to add highlights and even finer contrast lines to emphasize areas such as the reflection within the eyes and the small shadowed regions around the lip and cheek bones. The use of black paint which she applies to the paper to form the hair brings the portrait into a new dimension and highlights all the vibrancy of the watercolours used earlier to create her exquisitely painted face.
This is a fine watercolour tutorial to learn from with respects to where to begin when undergoing a watercolour portrait and also how the brushes can be used quickly and effectively to accentuate the many features which make up the human face. The use of a highlight pen within a watercolour painting is a more contemporary method but is certainly not one to be overlooked as it can add fantastic fine detailing to create a beautiful sense of realism. So reach for your watercolor brushes and see if you can imitate some of the painting techniques you have learned from the video.