Saturday, August 21, 2010


Centurion Branch held a workshop on the 17th july. Portraits: Paint together by Alma Vorster and Liz Davies.
Alma brought some of her lovely Sepia portraits and one where Pit pencil and watercolour were used and one with charcoal over the water colour.
Alma had some very good informative notes written up for us. About choosing the type of portrait, the medium, paper, color,and style; She included the colours to use for various skin types and hair; How to do shadows, hard and soft edges, modeling the nose painting the eyes in three stages and preserving the whites and first wash.
How to get interesting effects with different drawing mediums. Alma gave a demo on using Pit Pencil and using water colour over it. We found the effects very exciting.
A tip from Alma for beginners; Use transparent, non staining colours such as Aureolin, Rose madder Genuine, Cobalt Blue, Viridian, Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna. Transparency will prevent mud forming and non staining colours on good paper can be washed out if necessary.
Some good reference books from Alma.
Hands,Faces and Figures by Angela Gair
Painting People in Watercolor - A design Approach by Alex Powers
Interpreting the Figure in Watercolor by Don Andrews
Painting Portraits in Watercolor by Jan Kunz
painting beautiful skin tones with color and light by Chris Saper.

I brought several portrait paintings to show everyone my style . I am a colourist with bright colours and dark darks. I often use a green red colour way.
I made copies of the various stages of painting the portrait of my little grand daughter. This was to show how I go through the stages from drawing, adding masking and several glazes to doing the back ground in dark and light colours.
We asked everyone to bring a drawing or photo copy in A4 size. This was then applied to the watercolour paper by drawing or tracing.
The next stage was to put in the masking on the lights in the eyes, on the hair and maybe a little on the lips.Then the first glaze of Raw Sienna was applied to the portrait but leaving some of the ares white. Then once this was dry the next glaze of Alizarin was applied. Again always waiting for the paper to dry completely, the next glaze of cobalt blue was added. Then some of the shadows around the nose, eyes and under the mouth were put in with a violet while the paint was damp allowing it to flow smoothly.
Never leave the teeth or the white of the eyes the white of the paper. Use the first glazes of colour over them.
The back ground was painted with water and colour was dropped in with the paper being moved around. You could add several colours to make a dark dark. e.g. Winsor Green (blue Shade) with Alizarin. this method was used to add colour to some of the clothing.
Alam and I walked around giving help and advice. Everyone came away with a painting almost finished. People enjoyed it and had learnt some new ways. It was a great afternoon. Centurion branch you rock!