Watercolor Portrait Painting Workshop: Creating Simple Soft Shadows

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Watercolor Portrait Painting Workshop: Creating Simple Soft Shadows: Click here or the ‘play’ button above to view the workshop.

Watercolor Portrait Painting Workshop – Introduction and Reflection

In this watercolor portrait painting workshop, I will show you how to create soft wet-in-wet shadows and the feeling of warm light in a portrait.

This painting was based on a photo I took of my grandmother over the weekend. I find that it helps to have a subject that you feel close to such as a family member or a friend. It’s easier to tell whether you’ve obtained a likeness of the subject and you’ll also feel more motivated to paint them.

I’ve hosted a variety of portraiture workshops over the past few weeks and you can view the video replay of some of them here and here.

One of the most challenging aspects of this portrait was to recreate my grandmother’s expression! In the original photo, she had a slightly restrained smile. I could have continued working on this a bit more but I ended up leaving it. I found that the smile lines around the mouth and eyes were quite important to portray her expression.

However, one thing I changed was the shadow on the left side of her face. I realized after the demonstration that it was a bit too light. So, I grabbed my spray bottle and rewet the left side of her face, and dropped in some perylene red, yellow ochre, and neutral tint mixed together. Often people ask me ‘what is neutral tint’. It’s basically a pre-mixed gray. You can create your own neutral tint by mixing together your primaries.

If you want to learn more about how to carry out the painting techniques required to paint a portrait like this, be sure to view the full workshop here.

Watercolor Portrait Painting Workshop: Creating Simple Soft Shadows
Watercolor Portrait Painting Workshop: Grandma – 1/4 Sheet, 100% Cotton, Cold-Press

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