Posted on February 21, 2015 by rica

Watercolor Portrait 57 of 100: Memories in a Box

Children grow up so fast. I know – when they’re whiny and all, you can’t wait for them to grow up so you can talk sense into them. But when you step back and watch them, engrossed in their own world of wonder, you gasp and wish you could tell time to slow down. You want to hold them and listen to their laughter forever.



That’s why my classmate gave me this. She was able to take a pic of her children through a phone came. However it was too small and pixelated to be printed and framed. So she gave me the pic and told me to ‘work my magic’.

This was actually one of the difficult paintings I’ve done. It was on an A4 and the thumbnail image was like 2 inches wide.

Posted on February 20, 2015 by rica

Watercolor Portrait 56 of 100: Hedwig’s Mom

I’ve never met her in person. Often times we’d leave comments on a common friend’s post until our posts would regularly appear on each other’s feeds. What I do know is that she’s a photographer and a very good one at that. She was wondering what to give her mom for her birthday, when one of my paintings appeared on her feed. So that’s how she got the idea of getting me to paint her mom’s portrait.



I was touched when she said, “You captured her better than I could.”

Honestly, I never thought that painting portraits could feel so… fulfilling. I love what I do and what I’ve done.  I can’t wait to do more. Every time I look back, I see how much of my technique has changed. It’s like something I’d want to do everyday for as long as I live.

Image 5

Posted on February 7, 2015 by rica

Watercolor Portrait 55 of 100: Rob Burton

Yes, he’s’s resident World Lit. Professor teaching at Chico State University (CSU). In an effort to teach his students more about world culture he also introduces them to blogging with a reasonably mixed community coming from different parts of the globe. It opens his students’ minds to lives, opinions and ideas other than their own.

It started back in 2006 when CSU’s professor, Rob Burton decided to use social media to aid in educating students. There are three reasons as to why he does this:

1) Students are encouraged to develop an authentic style or “voice.” : Yes we have facebook, google plus and twitter as the main social media tools that kids use nowadays. Yet, how can you truly express yourself in 140 words for twitter? Or in a newsfeed for facebook or a post in googleplus? I guess the best way is to use a blog. A social blog – preferably one with an existing community. So yes, they have to learn how to really blog – not just write a report, but blog!

2) Students write to a world audience: Blogster has members from different countries. We see the world in different ways. And ooooh the controversies these students face from time to time!

3) Students can now enjoy using a visual and verbal medium. 

Actually the professor explains it better in his blog.

Posting on blogster or any blog for that matter, means welcoming an exchange of opinions.Positive or negative, those opinions matter. The students are made to be aware of this. The entire point of using blogster instead of groups or educational message boards is that these students should learn to discuss about the topic of their choice.

RBurton 72dpi

I wanted to be able to add a little ‘sunlight’ into my painting so I did a few things differently for this one:

  1. I washed the paper twice with water. It made the paint go on smoothly.
  2. With the third wash I used Holbein’s Permanent Yellow Lemon as a base color for everything – including the sky. I made it very thin on areas where light fell and on the sky. I made it dark where the shadows and dark area would be. I realized that in doing so, the blues turned into greens. I will try a different base color next time. Or use a much thinner layer of yellow.
  3. After doing the third wash with pigment, I waited an hour for the painting to dry up completely. I don’t have a hair dryer so, I propped it in front of a fan as I finished my tasks for the day.
  4. Then I started doing the flesh tones, starting with the lightest then ending with the darkest, waiting at least 15 minutes before adding each colored layer. This is a bit different because I would ‘smoothen’ out the brush strokes using a wet brush. I kept blending each layer to make each transition smooth.


    Taken with a camera in sunlight. :)

  5. The yellow base color is still visible but faint. The sun is behind him and it lends a faint glow. I gave the painting a final thin wash of crimson for the skin tone and payne’s gray for the clothes. I noticed that when this painting is viewed in daylight, the yellow undertone is hardly visible. But since the scanner’s light is white – I wonder if that is why the color’s a bit muted.
Posted on February 4, 2015 by rica

Practise. Practise. Practise.

Yes, painting is a practise in patience. I don’t know how a painting will turn out until the very last touch-up. Which is why the results often surprise me.

I bought 100 sheets of 390 gsm paper for practise. Watercolor paper is expensive so I scouted around for alternatives. This is Acquarello paper from Prestige Paper Products. I think this will do for practises. It doesn’t wrinkle much, but it can’t be used for portraiture.

I got the idea for this painting from Pavel Guzenko’s works – Sparkling Eyes. The original was painted in oil. The colors were more vibrant and the eye was grayish. I decided to do a brown and stick to watercolor because I want to explore the medium. However, I got impatient (again) and used acrylic paint for the white reflections.

Yes, seems like once I am done with 100 portraits, I shall do 100 studies on reflective surfaces.


Posted on February 3, 2015 by rica

Watercolor Portrait 54 of 100: Bastian

This is a second painting of Bastian taken from one photo. The challenge this painting gave was that half of the face was dark and in shadows.


Yes, I still need practise but I think this is better than the first one [below]. This was the first one painted last December. One of the things I learned was to keep on painting. Thatis, to stop thinking on how to ‘solve’ it and just paint it. Sometimes you just stumble upon solutions to previous problems without knowing it.


I can ‘see’ another problem though – I need more practise in doing hair. That is, I have to learn how to do hair on watercolor.

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