Portrait of Modern Empress

This was a commission to paint a portrait of
“Modern Empress” www.modernempress.co.uk


It is A3 size. An initial sketch is made usually on rough paper then scanned into the computer and some indication of tone  is worked out on the file produced. This digital drawing is printed out and the line-work is transferred down on to thick watercolour paper.
(for the geeks this is 300gsm Saunders Waterford HP)










The first outlines are traced out in diluted black watercolour paint to define main areas of tone.


Now darker areas of tone are blocked in. This need not be too fine as they are going so dark anyway any imperfections can be covered.


Now comes a gradual definition of tones according to the sketch…


..and of the background too.The tones are gradually worked up


Background is worked up so that it is defined but does not take the attention away from the main character


At this stage you begin to start balancing all the tones out. I feel that the subject should be glowing so she is the lightest part of the picture. Everything else is dark in comparison to her. This lightness is of course the whiteness of the paper coming through, the unique property of watercolour. Painting white onto watercolour paint is occasionally necessary but is to be avoided as much as possible.


The finished painting.

My basic principle is to work from general to detail. Never to get bogged down in one part at the expense of others. It is very tempting to work up the “interesting bits”- face etc and then get depressed looking at all the unpainted background. I feel the best approach is to bring up all the picture together stage by stage.

Interested in a commission?

Please visit www.sardax.com to see this and many others.