How I Paint Watercolor Portraits

If you are my friend on Facebook, you might have been sick of me posting my artworks several times in a week since I started on May 1. Nevertheless, I still get encouragement from friends. Some have expressed their interest in my work by asking me to paint for them. The usual request was to paint portraits. Err, I still need to practice that. I have done self-portrait once before as a requirement in art class. What I did was face the mirror and start sketching my face freehand. The sketch hardly looks me like except for the headband since I used that accessory almost everyday back them. With portraits, you really need to get  it right.

Since I know I cannot copy faces by hand, the next best thing is to use gridlines. I picked a photo I wanted to copy. Using photoshop, I added gridlines. I followed the instructions from this site.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

It is a little blurry but I love this photo of me and Peachy.

The next thing I did is to draw gridlines on my paper by counting how many squares I need to draw. A little arithmetic does not hurt. ;) Then I start sketching square by square. This way, even if I did not get the details right, there is one thing I can be certain. I get proportionate baseline drawing.

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Then, I erased the gridlines. (Tiring eh?)
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Then, I started with the underpainting. An underpainting is the initial layer of colors which serves as a guide as you add more and more color. I took note of the shadows and light.
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I added more and more colors to the underpainting until I got tired of trying to make it look like the picture! haha!

By the way, watercolor painting deals a lot of blending of colors. I test my mix by having a blank page of the sketchpad nearby. I try my stroke on an another paper first to test the color.
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I also keep tissues nearby to wipe water off my brush.
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I always stop painting when I think I can no longer do anything about it. Sometimes, I leave the painting halfway or close to completion to rest and get a better perspective on how to improve it.

With this portrait, I just want to move on. Haha
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When I posted this on Facebook, one honest friend commented that I looked slightly cross-eyed in the painting. Still, there were those who wanted their portraits made, too. I promised then they’ll get one from me when they reach 40. Haha! I have to work on those eyes.

Maybe I should start with pets first. I found a random painting of a dog on the internet which I practiced on.

I missed a few hairs  on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting.  Oh, the things you see under the lens!

I missed a few hairs on the chin on this one. I already corrected them on the actual painting. Oh, the things you see under the lens!

Since my problem is painting the eyes, I found a temporary solution. One cousin wanted a painting of her son with angry birds. I found a solution when I saw her update her profile pic. This is the final painting.

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Cannot copy the eyes? Put sunglasses! hahaha

I hope you get to try to paint portraits, too!

My Own Art Journey and How You Can Learn to Draw and Do Watercolor Painting

We had art classes in high school. Fine Arts was part of the curriculum for two years so I had prior knowledge on how to do watercolor paintings, sketch and use oil pastels. I did not just wake up one day and decide to do watercolor art.

In the past 25 years, I have picked up a pencil every now and then and did some sketching. In college, when boredom inspiration strikes, I sketch or paint. I kept a sketch pad (Care bears pa!).

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I lived in a dormitory so the easiest things to sketch are those near my table. Haha

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I also found time to pick up the brush. No, I had no morbid thoughts on that knife painting. It was the easiest photo of an object I can copy from a magazine. The second painting is an eye of the Philippine Eagle.

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That was in college. I have not really actively engaged in art not until recently.

In recent years, I was really inspired by the artsy stuff that Alessa Lanot does. And I have recently seen Ala Paredes’ work. I used to read her blog and was impressed with her drive to pursue her art. Recently, I have come across her watercolor painting in her instagram. It was really impressive. So I decided to give it another try.

Ala wrote a piece about art and learning: that art can be learned through repetition. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, said something about doing things regularly like it would take some 10,000 hours to become an expert. Relying on sheer talent and not doing anything to improve it is useless.

So, I am sharing with you the YouTube videos I viewed to learn some drawing and watercolor techniques. I have received a few comments about being interested in learning how to paint or draw. The good new is… YOU CAN! You just have to try.

These are the videos:

These are the artworks I did based on the videos:

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For now, I practice by copying existing images on the Internet. I am having fun doing it. One day, I hope to create original work from original ideas.

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In case you are interested on the tools I use, here is the list:

1. Faber Castell 0.7 mechanical pencil+ refill+ Pentel eraser
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2. Brushes + mixing tray. In high school, we only use chinese brushes. I am most comfortable using those. Regular trips to the school supplies store yielded me all these brushes. The blue and black brushes are sets and are inexpensive. (I think I paid Php50++ for each set.) The two brushes on the left were part of the watercolor set I bought.
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3. Watercolor. I have accummulated several kinds in the past month. I am most comfortable using the tubes but I just recently purchased those. In some of the artworks I made earlier this month like the apple, strawberry and flowers, I used the watercolor in palette.
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4. Paper. I use 200 GSM board. I recommend thicker boards for landscape painting. This type I use bends with water-heavy type of painting.
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I think I have shared everything you need to get you to try watercolor painting. Let me know when you have created your work. I would love to see them.

Of Passion, Courage and Photography

There are so many photographers out there: both hobbyists and  professionals. It can be a competitive world and it is quite challenging to find your place in the sun and stand out. Yet I know of people who enjoy photography just because they simply love it. They are undaunted by challenges and continue to push themselves to produce better work.

When it comes to photography, I always turn to my cousin, Bong, for help.  He teaches me how to get better photos. I do not necessarily get it right all the time but he is still happy to share new things he learned. I often pester him with photography questions and even when I thought I have learned enough,  he still has a lot of tricks up his sleeve which he generously shares with me. He takes awesome photos because he never stops learning.

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 Having passion at what you are interested in is great. However,  it also takes courage to  put your work out there for the world to judge. So I salute the brave souls like my cousin, Bong,  for joining the photography competition by Getty Images.

I have a little request. Please click on the photos below. You will be directed to Getty Images. Click ‘like’ on the lower left corner.  No need to register. Please leave a comment when you have done so so I can thank you properly.

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I know you would agree with me that these are great photos.  You won’t be sorry for clicking like. He is good.  And if you live in Manila or Laguna area and need a great photographer, let me know.  Photography is his hobby and he has a full-time job but who knows? He might be available to accommodate your request.

Thank you again. Let me leave you with this quote.  In life, we should never be afraid to take chances.

 

In the Mood for Watercolor Art

I had art lessons in high school. Fine arts was part of the curriculum for two years.  We were taught how to draw and paint.  We were exposed to different tools- charcoal pencil, oil pastels, watercolor, water-based paint. We did still life, landscape, portrait, cubism, abstract painting and murals.  In the  spirit of full disclosure, I am not a beginner.  However, it has been awhile since I last picked up a brush.

I have been reading  Alessa Lanot’s blog for some time now and I am amazed at her creativity. She somehow piqued my interest in watercolor whenever she posts her art.

I bought a watercolor set, brushes and thick paper last week and since May 1, I have been practicing watercolor art.  There are a lot of Youtube videos which show different watercolor techniques. I have been using them for practice. Hopefully, there will come a time that I will no longer have to refer to those videos and will find a technique I can call my own.

On May 1, I painted an apple.

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The next day, I did strawberry, raspberry, pepper and basil.
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The beauty of social media is that you can get instant feedback from friends. They seemed to like my work that I was motivated to do more. By Day 3, I was willing to try another technique, one has an impressionistic feel to it and the other one uses Chinese painting technique.
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Today is Day 4 of my watercolor practice and I think Youtube is running out of videos I can practice on.
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My friend suggested that I should open an Etsy shop and offer watercolor illustrations. Another friend suggested that I should create greeting cards for special occasions. Another one suggested that I should mount an exhibit and raise funds for our alumni homecoming. Haha!  I am thankful for supportive friends who think I have talent in this art form.

I think I still need to practice more. All I have done is copy what others have done. I hope I will be able to create original work someday. Right now, I am enjoying the process and I am running out of paper. I will have to buy another set tomorrow.

How about you?  What craft are you interested in?

The Gratitude Project

Happy New Year!

The holiday season is over and I still have a lot of things to blog about. I still want to share what happened over the Christmas season. It is nice to reflect on the past year and work towards a better 2014.  I had a good 2013 and I wanted to keep track of my 2014 by starting a gratitude journal. Every night, before I sleep, I am going write something  that I am thankful for for the day.  At the end of the month,  I will be sharing what I have written down.  I will do this every month and at the end of the year, I will have 365 things I am thankful for.

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There are other ideas for a year long project like this one: a gratitude jar.

Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262616221990630743/

Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262616221990630743/

Still, others try to capture one photo per day to briefly describe their day.

I do not know what is in store for me this 2014. I am excited about it and this is what I am going to declare: I believe that this year is going to be the best year ever.

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