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learning watercolors with a Portrait

15 6 129 (1 Today)
By ro5ert   |   Watch
Published: July 6, 2018
© 2018 - 2019 ro5ert
Watercolor, paper for oil 240g/m2, 12 x 24 cm

This is my first try with watercolors. I had been watching some amazing lessons on watercolors by Stan Miller, and when he introduced a portrait I just had to give it a go! I started painting following his "lesson 16" but, after realizing that my one small brush and experience would not fit Stan's style or pace, I simply took a screenshot of the original B&W photo and continued on my own.

Let me know what do you think (CC).

What I found out so far: mixing water, paint and paper can be a real challenge. It's easy to get excited with the dark values (namely black). I suspect that paper for oil paint might be very different from watercolor paper.

Credits: photograph and youtube tutorials from Stan Miller

Image size
530x1049px 588.58 KB
Wieppo S6
Shutter Speed
200000/1000000 second
Focal Length
4 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 25, 2018, 9:27:18 AM
GIMP 2.8.18
anonymous's avatar
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vanndra's avatar
vanndraHobbyist General Artist
Your work is beautiful :)
ro5ert's avatar
ro5ertHobbyist General Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it : )
vanndra's avatar
vanndraHobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :)
kogekisaru's avatar
kogekisaruProfessional Digital ArtistFeatured
Well you invited me to get even so here I am. 
I'd like to first start off by saying I'm no good with water color, so take this with a grain of salt since it might not apply quite for you situation.
For the most part the anatomy look good, but the septum of the nose seems off center.
From a compositional pov there are a few things I would have done differently.
I would soften the transition between the shadow under the cheek and the light above it, not a lot, but some. The edge is really hard and since that spot has a lot of saturation I find that is where I am looking, and generally you want to be looking at the eyes on something this close. 
Next on and near the nose, I wouldn't go nearly as black as you did, the left nostril is so close to the highlight on the tip of the nose this creates a huge contrast point and draws attention away from the eyes again.
Also i would add a little more shading to the whites of the eyes, the corners can get pretty dark there and it would help the eye feel a bit more rounded.
and finally, you have the highlight on the chin nearly white next to a nearly black background. once more the contrast is probably a bit high here.
I do recognze that some of those things probably came from thats the way the photo looked, but remember you can always change little details to help improve the overall readability.
Overall great piece, I wish I could have been more help.
ro5ert's avatar
ro5ertHobbyist General Artist
I agree with absolutely everything you said! I'm now feeling silly not to have noticed the problems of light (white) saturation before starting putting paint on the paper, and for being so naive in following blindly the values of the photo... me preaching about contrast and freckles to others, while having a black nostril literally staring at me. Wow, my learning curve just spiked! I'm starting a new project and I'm gonna re-check my reference for values and contrast locations. Thanks a lot!
kogekisaru's avatar
kogekisaruProfessional Digital Artist
Well for a lot of artists following the photo exactly is the way to go, it takes a lot of skill in the fundimentals to beable to look at a photo and accurately assess where you can make changes to improve the appeal of the image.
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