I’ve had the opportunity to draw live models before in art classes, but today I made my first attempt at painting one. This session took place in the Craft Studio 2 of my community’s club house. I chose to work in watercolor. I started by sketching in the outline of the subject’s face and body as quickly as I could while still making it accurate. To make sure the features of the face were in the right places, I used the techniques outlined here.
When it came time to start painting, I started with the model’s flesh, which I painted by mixing yellow and purple. Now, the color I had was going to be way too dark, so I wet my paper first to dilute the color. Watercolor is probably not the best medium or the most practical medium for a short modeling session, since when you wet the paper, like I did, you have to wait for that layer to dry. When someone’s only going to be in front of you for a half an hour, you want to be able to go back and add more layers as quickly as possible.
After I painted the model’s hair, I realized I needed another layer on her face. This layer, though, was way too yellow. Nothing I could do about that, though, until it dried. In the meantime, I blocked in color on her shirt.
Once it was safe to go back over the face on my portrait, I did so with purple, making sure to thin it out of course. This toned the yellow right down. I decided to use purple for the shadows and planes on her face too. I tried to look and see where the edges of the shadows were and draw them in my piece.
My goal was more about having fun and learning than creating a masterpiece. If I was painting a model professionally, it would be done in sessions and both the model and I would take breaks. I think next time, I'll work in black and white. That will probably be easier.
Painter of portraits and wildlife