Easy Watercolor Portrait

Easy Watercolor Portrait


This is my 18 year old son, Trent who just went off to college.  He gets his good looks from his Dad, isn’t he handsome?  This portrait process was taught this summer in my classes at The Art Location where I teach watercolors and collage.
I want to share this process with you and show some examples of this lesson that I first found here.

This is the photo I chose to edit in pic monkey.  I chose 3 colors in the posterize filter.


Below is the time lapse video of me painting this portrait.

These examples are from the students in my class.Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 3.21.38 PM

Now that I have done one of my son Trent, I plan to paint the other 3 kids of mine.  Here are the edited photos I made in pic monkey to use.  Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 3.42.39 PM

Give it a try.  I’d love to see what you come up with on your Easy Watercolor Portraits.

montage commission

montage commission

A fantastic returning client contacted me about painting a watercolor montage for her to give as a gift.  The location is a horse ranch where weddings are held in Prairie Grove, Ar.  I went out to take several pictures.

I used this example from a google search as a map/plan to create mine for my client.IMG_3162

Then using the photos I took and the proportional sizing the client wanted (12″ x 24″) I put together a few mock set ups for the client to choose a draft for me to follow.  Here is what I sent her after she chose which photos to use as references.Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 9.40.05 AM

she chose the one on the left and here is the final result:


Her daughter was recently married at this location and my client has gifted this watercolor to the owners of the ranch.

portrait collage

portrait collage

The final two weeks of our collage class was on the theme of portraits.  We were stretched and challenged.  However very fun!  Lucinda in our class found an app called waterlogue that takes a photo and turns it into a “watercolor”.   This app turned out to be a great platform or map to create a collage from.  Read on to see the different processes we all applied.  All of us used some kind of photo and traced the portrait onto the canvas.  As more pieces (ripped magazine images and other papers, book pages, rice paper, tissue paper, etc) were collaged onto the canvas it needed to be retraced as our lines would get covered up.  Using an emery/cuticle stick with the pointed end as a tracing “pen” kept our original image from getting too marked up from the repeated tracing.  Glue used was either a glue stick or modge podge.

This is an example of what the app “waterlogue” creates from her photo.  This became her map.

photo 9

Now you can see her work in progress…


photo 8


This is Joyce’s “map” and her work in progress…

photo 10

now her collage in progress…she used watercolor paint to shadow and color the skin.

photo 11


This is my collage in its stages to completion.  Using one of my favorite photos of my mom and I.  First the reference photo…

photo 1

photo 7

photo 6

photo 3

photo 2

A Fun Commission

A Fun Commission

a very fun commission

using a color palette from my client that she provided and the subjects of a pear, apple, sunflower and hydrangea.  Watercolor on 140# cold press arches paper.  The added gestural, sketchy pen work is one of favorite looks as well.  Then mounting the originals onto a 12×12 cradled wooden canvas.  I love the close up compositions.  Final application is 2 coats of wax to protect and seal the art.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 11.24.44 AM


Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 11.24.04 AM

collage in progress

collage in progress

In the theme of our collage class of “food and drink”  Here is my example.  My inspiration behind this collage is my special coffee mug.  It’s a  “just because”  gift from my daughter Brooke.  She thought it looked like me.

So here is the photo I took of it, I really like the surroundings of The Art Location Studio and the paint splashed table and my lipstick on the rim of the mug, very artsy:IMG_6487


To make the collage I squirted a gold acrylic paint in the middle of a wooden canvas and squirts of umber around the edges.  Then I spread the paint with a brush to cover the surface, while also scratching in some random strokes with the back of the paintbrush.  keeping the middle golden and edges brown.  After paint was dry I began placing my “pieces” to apply to the canvas in different arrangements until I liked the outcome.  On the left side, I used a torn dryer sheet for some texture. I glued down the pieces with modge podge. When that was dry,  I darkened the edges with a darker brown and wispy strokes.   After this layer dried, I put a turquoise crayoned edge, using a ruler, around the coffee mug photo.  I dotted pops of red to finish it off.  When all was dry I covered the whole surface with a final coat of modge podge.  And “ta da”, a personal collage to display.  I am looking forward to what the students will bring to work on this theme next week.

things I used to make this collage:

wooden cradled canvas 8 x 8″

acrylic paint

photos from myself and the internet



dryer sheet

modge podge






sponges, your watercolor tool

sponges, your watercolor tool

natural-sea-sponges-good-for-skin-1I use different size and shape natural sea sponges to recreate foliage in my paintings.  Dipping the sponge in the paint and “stamping” the sponge onto the paper in a random pattern really depicts leaves well.  I like using different shades of green to give the trees depth. Wildflowers and cherry blossoms are also a subject to represent with natural sea sponges.  Here is a link to a youtube video giving an example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzFQZQqL7dw

and then below is one of my recent commissions with sponged trees…IMG_2141

The power in your mothers handwriting

The power in your mothers handwriting

Building on the theme of last week and this week on “words” for our collage class.  Here is a personal piece I created.  I was first inspired by a visit to the eye doctor.  You just never know when or where or what will catch your eye and spark the creative juices.  Behind the receptionist is a wall with a composition that screamed to be repeated on my next collage platform.

Here is the wall:


oh and that is my purse in the picture too 🙂

So I recreated this look onto a 12 x 12 wooden cradled canvas.  My original plan for words was to use a variety of letters from rubber stamps, stencils, and magazines to spell out a Rumi, mother Theresa or Helen Keller quote, some of my FAVORITE quotes come from these souls of wisdom.   However as I went through several days of creating the background a new idea hit me.  I saw my moms handwritten words on a note that has been plastered on my fridge for a few months.  My moms friend had saved this letter that was sent to her from my mom over 30 years ago.  My moms friend passed the note to me recently.  (Thank you Sandy for saving this and passing it on to me!) When I look at my moms cursive, it is like seeing her.  The connection I feel to my mom by looking at her handwriting is very strong.  On this pass through the kitchen I noticed how the paper that the note is on coordinates with the background I had recently finished.  I knew then that these were the words to go on my “word” collage.  So here it is.photo 3


side view:

photo 4

I am looking forward to seeing what the others have been making with their “words”.



Anyone else have a Cricut machine?  What are you using it for?  art.by.beth business bought one recently and is playing around with ideas.  A few ideas and uses so far are cutting up photos into letters and making notecards out of them.  Cutting out quotes to use on “word collages” (this weeks continued theme in our collage class)  I haven’t seemed to have figured out how to cut cardstock as well as photos or how to cut several at ne time.  I need a cricut tutor to come over.

here a a few of the notecards I have done…IMG_6279 IMG_6280 IMG_6278