Craftsy has been having a Black Friday sale - all of its classes are $17.99 or less through this Monday. I took the plunge and signed up for 2 more classes because I couldn't resist (again!). On Friday, I bought Matt Rota's Portraits in Watercolor class and watched through all the lessons over a couple of days while being holed up in Lake Tahoe with my family.
Matt's course is excellent. Very, very thorough. He starts with materials and goes on to explain how to do different watercolor washes. I learned so much. For example, he showed us how hot press watercolor paper allows for the watercolors to stay wet longer than cold press which allows for easier mixing of colors and washes. He also explained how different washes and techniques allow for hard or soft edges and when you might want to use either in your paintings.
He then shows us how to do a tonal study of a portrait using a single watercolor in different strengths to understand the light, middle, and darkest darks of your painting. I've been struggling to understand values so this was very helpful. Here is our reference photo and my tonal study.
Then, we moved onto working on the portrait for the class starting with a light underpainting in either raw or burnt sienna using accurate measurements with your paintbrush or by eyeing how he features line up with other features. Matt explained how using a warm color for the underpainting allows you to cool it down later and for the underpainting to disappear under the final painting. He also recommended doing an underpainting instead of using graphite to avoid fussing and erasing. I liked that!
Then, we went onto adding color. First, we made a background wash of ultramarine and sepia, if I remember correctly, and painted it in wet on wet to get a soft edge on at least one side of the portrait. After that, we mixed two washes of a warm red and a warm yellow - then wet the entire face and painted in the soft washes which will tint the highlights in the final painting.
Going on, Matt explained how cool washes will make those areas of the portrait recede in space while warm washes will bring those areas forward in space. This was so helpful! As well as the rest of the lessons which walked us through each step to get us to the final painting. I really appreciated this as so many instructors skip steps and just expect you to be able to fill in all the gaps on your own. Here is my final portrait. I'm pretty satisfied with it.
The second class I bought during the Black Friday sale was Painting Realistic Watercolors with Mario Robinson. I watched the lessons this morning, but haven't had a chance to work through any of it yet. I'll post after I do so.
Hope you had a great Thanksgivng break! I'll post the artwork I made while in Tahoe soon!