Painting is my passion, whether in oils or watercolors. Traditional oils are like applying colored butter to a canvas… a luscious process I could never tire of. Family portraits in oils have been the classic medium over the ages to preserve a loved one's image and spirit.
Painting a portrait in watercolor is a lot like raising a child. It is a tight rope act, an incredibly fine balance between letting the vibrant transparent colors grow and bloom in unexpected directions… and being a careful and thoughtful guide, coaxing and coaching and watching…ever careful not to meddle too much with a brush and spoil the beauty. After fifteen years of painting watercolor portraits, I am still enthralled with the process. I begin each painting with excited expectation, a mother wondering if I am up to the challenge. I can't imagine a better job.
The visual treat of a watercolor is its transparency…. its clean, pure color. What better medium to use for a child's portrait? There is no white paint; so careful planning is essential to the process. The portrait is painted from light to dark (just the opposite of an oil approach). It takes calculated finesse to create multiple luminous layers, without dissolving previous layers and muddying the color. Carefully layered washes give a watercolor painting its characteristic sparkle and glow.
Watercolors were once thought of as a sketch or study medium for subsequent oil paintings. With lightfast professional pigments, ph balanced papers, and archival framing techniques, watercolors have the potential to outlast oil paintings and are fast becoming the medium of choice.