Watercolour Portraits Using the Direct & Indirect Methods

Quarter Imperial Sheet
© adam cope
Painting into the dusk. Fading light. Blur & indefinition. When the self feels its way into the soul of the world. The feelings that pass between artist & model.A strictly limited palette. Three colours only. Winsor & Newton. Artists Viridian, Indian Red, Permanent Magenta.

The tonality is pretty good in ‘M’.

Two wet-on-wet ‘selves’ from 2007. Eyes. Passing expressions, ripples in ‘The Creating Water’.

Two colours only. Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna.

‘Self 3’ – Detail . 24 x 32cm. 2007.

‘Self 6’ – Detail . 24 x 32cm. 2007.

Watercolour Portraits Using the Direct & Indirect Methods

An indirect way of working with watercolour. An indirect route. Letting the face emerge out from the wet on the paper. Sometimes lifting off. Sometimes adding on. Sometimes subtracting. Taking away. Moving the pigment around on the page. Backwards & forwrads, feeling the painting unfolding. Nudging it about till the desired expression is staring back out. Look! There’s the face I was looking for & hey…. it’s looking back out at me!
Compare the indirect way with the direct way of watercolouring, where the right wash, the right concentration & value, the right stroke is laid down directly in one go. One pass, then stop. No correcting allowed. No repenting. No recanting. No substracting, only adding. No backwards, only forwards. If it’s right or if it’s wrong… it must be as right as one can make it the first time! Knife edge stuff. Bang on! Raise to the occassion. Meet the challenge. The important thing in the Direct Method is that the power of the brushmark & beauty of dilution isn’t worried or ‘broken’ by nervous timidity.

‘Self 1’