World Watercolor Month #19

I have been hungrily devouring watercolor workshop videos by Hazel Soan on (I got the subscription exclusively to be able to watch her videos, and I am happy to report that it was totally worth it!), and have been so very inspired her brushwork and enthusiasm for fresh, transparent watercolors. 

In her 10-minute watercolors video, she does a portrait in 10 minutes (!!) and it looks so fresh and spontaneous. I have been trying a lot of Hazel Soan exercises lately, so I figured, what the hell, I will try this one too.

I did this exercise from a photo (shared on, directly in watercolor using ivory black as my only pigment. I just carved the shapes out with my brush, moving between areas and waiting for the damp areas to dry just enough to take the next layer of pigment etc. This was completed from start to finish in 20mins. It is not quite Hazel's 10, but close!

I haven't been practicing portraits really, but it looks like practicing good brushwork, painting in shapes etc. has translated into better portraits.

Things I learned :

  • Yes, what they say is right. It is all just shapes - large, small, tiny, but all shapes nevertheless.
  • Ivory black on watercolor paper affords more control and smoother transitions than using black ink or water-soluble graphite, as I have done in the past. Both of these latter ones used to leave ugly streaks all over, and I realize now that it is the property of the media.