Watercolor Portrait #23: Sunlight



I’ve often admired artists who could really paint sunlight into their portraits. Inspired by the national artist Fernando Amorsolo, I’d seek out paintings where the entire canvas would be flooded with sunlight. It was one of my frustrations, until now.

Details. I know nobody looks at paintings this close - but I do.

Details. I know nobody looks at paintings this close – but I do.

Now that I’ve started to learn how to paint, I’ve been trying to find out how to incorporate the light without making the painting look too washed out or loaded with white.


God knows, when I start painting portraits, one of the things I always worry about is, ‘will it look like the person’? Another thing that worries me is, ‘what part of the person’s personality will I capture’? I don’t know. I think ever since I started painting, I’ve started to worry about things people don’t even think about everyday. :)


Mrs. Azcuna was one of the directors of the college Honor’s Class when I was in St. Scholastica’s College, Manila. We all had problems maintaining our grades. She was the one who told me point blank, “You know, you’re in the wrong course.” She said it not because my grades were failing, but [perhaps] of the countless doodles I’d do during class. I entered the course because it was what my parents wanted.

She was one of the teachers who tried to convince me to walk this road. 24 years later, I am now walking the road. This is my way of thanking them, one by one.

Watercolor Portrait #22: Charlie


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When I was new at blogster back in 2009, I had no idea how to blog or how it was like to be in a blogging community. Sure I had a job to fulfill, one of them was learning how to blog. Charlie (Abifyt) happened to be one of the few who visited and commented on my blog (Anacoana, ceilede, Strider333, Ekyprogressive and BeverlyD were among the first).

This was one of his avatar when he decided to use his name on blogster:


And this is the watercolored portrait of that.


I think i might use another photo later on.

I used the image because of the lighting. His cheek was almost white and I would like to learn how to “paint sunlight” into my paintings. I didn’t leave his cheek white. After running over the entire paper with a brush, I brushed the entire face with the lightest combination of Rose and Yellow Ochre. I think I should’ve used Rose and Burnt Sienna. It would’ve given his skin a more pinkish undertone. After doing that, I waited 20 seconds before drying everything with a rag to lift off excess color. It left a light pigment on the skin and that is the lightest part of the face. I left the background white for contrast.

As usual, I will edit this after 12 hours when I can look upon the painting with ‘fresh eyes’. For now, this will do.

Watercolor Portrait #21: Highlights Using Sponge



I guess one could tell that I don’t want to be stuck in a rut. With friends like Amado - who would?

It is good to have someone who can push you to do something else. Amado’s that kind of person. He would show some works or send me a link of a painting that shows  a different style, and we’d both wonder how it was done. We actually did something really fun – he got a pic of his and suggested that we both paint the same pic. It was a wonderful pic of Ish.


With that as the subject, I ended up with this after a few hours:


This is what Amado has done:


I love his work and what he has done!

I am aware that I’m having a few problems with the likeness. I already know what part needs to be worked on. However I’d like to note the things I did differently with this portrait.

1. For skin, I used Yellow Ochre and Rose [it just says Rose lol]. It’s what Amado suggested. I think it looks good.

2. I placed blue and green in the shadow area, yellow and orange in the highlights.

3. I used a makeup sponge to do the highlights AND remove some of the paint to create textures and patterns. I find this one amazing. I think I could try to enhance and do the finishing touches using this sponge technique.

Watercolor Portrait #20: Xander


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I don’t know which is more challenging – drawing a white pet or a black one. Sure, the dog already showed blue highlights. But how do you make it into a painting?


I placed the basic colors first. I realized that I have to do the highlights last. The base color is what the highlights will look like once paint has been lifted.


I then put the shadow color on the darkest part and waited for the paint to dry. Once the paint dried up, I got a brush and with clean water and rag, I slowly took out the paint. This would be my highlights and detail. I was careful to brush in the direction of the fur.


Once the painting dried, I placed the highlights and darker shadows. I had no choice but to use black in this painting.



I had to use white paint for the highlights. However, I had to add blue [light blue for the details - hair and reflection] because I could no longer lift any color from the paper.


I did like how it turned out. Again, I did what a friend of mine suggested – that is, when you’re in doubt as to what colors to use as background – use a lighter shade of your base colors. It did turn out nice.

Watercolor Portrait #19: Mogsie and Barry



Things I did differently with this painting:



1. I used the base color as background;

2. All harsh lines were muted by running over the dry lines with a clean wet brush;


3. The final outline was softened;

4. Using green as base color for both models, not just blue; and

5. Uhm.. a #5 would be nice.


I realized a few things though:

1. I might need to use a darker colored pencil. It is best to use colored pencil for pets and regular pencil for portraits.

2. With the 200 gsm paper, there was much wrinkling. With the 300 gsm, it is minimal. However I did put masking tape on the sides. I might need to buy two wooden boards to flatten these out.

3. I really need to spend at least 24 hours away from the painting before coming back to it to put in the final details. I get to see more dissimilarities when the light is better [I paint at night] and after I’ve scanned the image. I realized this is something that can’t be rushed.

4. I do need to keep copies of my paintings. I did a comparison of my old and new ones and can see how much I’ve improved and the problems I am still having.

5. Painting the entire thing takes about 2 hours. What I am not adding into the equation is the sketching process, planning process and the 15 – 30-minute after-edits. All in all, ONE portrait takes about (an aggregate of)  4 hours to complete.