Sunday, June 26, 2011

Portrait Of A Princess

This morning I decided to do a watercolor of Princess from yesterday's sketch. Somehow the drawing got a little squashed vertically, so I elongated it a little in Photoshop. I traced the sketch onto my watercolor paper with my light box, using a 2H pencil and a light touch so as not to score the paper.

Years ago, I used to do lots of pet portraits. I learned early on to do the eyes first, because they are the gateway to the soul of the animal and if the eyes are not right, the rest of the painting won't be either. I was satisfied with the way they turned out, so I went on to finish it. You can see the painting on my web log here.

"The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat."  ~ Jules Reynard

"Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later."  ~ Mary Bly

"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."  ~ Terry Pratchett

I will post our next sketching challenge tomorrow.


  1. I don't suppose you took pictures along the way painting the rest of the body???? I'd love to see how you achieved the fur. This painting is gorgeous!! (wrote more on the finished post)

  2. Hey Susan - Sorry I did not take more photos along the way today. With this wet-in-wet watercolor technique, it is hard to stop at certain points of the painting. To render the fur, I wet the white area first and while squinting at my reference, floated in some grays which I pre-mixed on my palette. (One warm / one cool). When that completely dried, I wet the brown area and did the same with several pre-mixed shades of brown and black. Always working with a loaded *dry brush on the (half dry half wet) wet paper. 95% of this was done with only one layer of paint on the paper. The other 5% was calligraphy which was added after the paper was completely dry.

    *dry brush ~ The brush is damp, yet dryer than the paper. This is done by loading the brush with thick paint and then using a tissue at the ferrule of the brush to squeeze out excess water. The brush then becomes "dry", but there's still lots of pigment on the bristles. The brush then becomes the sponge and you are able to control the flow of paint. If the brush is wetter than the paper, the paper becomes the sponge. (I'm sure you already knew this Susan, but I am posting it for the benefit of others.)

    See my sketching lens for more on this.

  3. When you share "(half dry half wet) wet paper", do you mean damp or is part of the paper dry and part wet that you apply your dry brush to? I think I'm following but not 100% sure.

    And I can understand how difficult stopping for photos working wet in wet can be. Timing's crucial to say the least.

  4. Yes, the paper is damp, but there is still a slight shine to it at the half dry / half wet stage.


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