An Accidental Watercolour Portrait

Quite by accident I started to work on a watercolour portrait today.  It began with a quick and dirty sketch of Ralph Fiennes from the cover of a DVD he starred in which was lying about in my living room – ‘The Constant Gardener’

Here’ the DVD cover:

DVDHere’s the sketch:

sketchThen I went over the sketch using a black watercolour pencil and used a wet brush to make some gradations in the tone and ‘colour-in’ some parts.

ralph_watercolour_sketchFinally I added some browns and some blues to the picture.  Because it was initially only a sketch it wasn’t on watercolour paper and so I got bumps and dips all over the place but I was pleased with it.  It has a loose sketchy feel which I like.

The I tried again – this time on watercolour paper and with a little more colour:

ralph_paint_1It started out OK, but then I messed it up:

Ralph Fiennes Watercolour Portrait_FIN_WEBDoing the background was really difficult with the watercolour pencils, plus it was getting on for bedtime and I didn’t have the patience to wait for some bits to dry with horrible consequences.  Plus, I decided to use blue as a background colour and I don’t feel that it really works how I envisaged.  In the end I salvaged what I could from it by trimming the painting to a near close-up but it’s not how I wanted it to be.

However, all of that said, I learned loads from making a bit of a mess of it and got a taste for working on portraits in watercolour.  😀  I’ve never done portraits in any paint before, except for one I did for my sister, of her and her two sons in acylics, but it was a portrait of their backs so there were no faces to paint.  I find faces a bit tricky to look at, but it’s OK if it’s on a picture and not in real life and if I’m looking at bits of it, rather than the whole – that helps too.  I quite like this picture of Mr Fiennes too because he’s looking sideways which feels more relaxing.  Tomorrow I’m going to try another watercolour portrait.