Emily – Imagine


Emily – Imagine – 9″ x 12″ Watercolor on Paper

This portrait was so much fun to work on. When I saw the photograph done by my daughter, Miriam Doan – with all those fabulous freckles and red hair, the beautifully draped scarf delicately held back by gentle hands, the lace and color of the dress, and THOSE eyes – I knew it was a painting in the making. SO many challenges! This is my sweet grand-niece Emily.



I didn’t use any frisket for this painting, but rather just worked in sections. I put down the initial washes on the background (dilute French Ultramarine), dress (dark mixture of , Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna), scarf (dilute quinacridone red) and hair (burnt sienna).

The background was too blue and the dress too dull.






So I added a glaze of prussian blue to the dress and liked what it was doing. While this was drying I put in some of the lace design details with a dilute mixture of ultramarine and raw sienna.

These two colors are so versatile. You can mix these two to get hues from deep blue to deep dark rich browns. The painting “Ridgley Hayes” is done with just these two colors. The horse in “Hannah and Wolfe” is also painted using these two colors.

I will add two more glazes of prussian blue to the dress, letting each glaze dry completely before applying the next.



After the first wash is dry I lay in another and let it dry. One more glaze of the prussian blue but before it dries this time I lift out the gathers in the fabric. I use the prussian blue with a little Viridian added for a green tint to lay in the background over the ultramarine. The color turned out perfect.I’d never used Prussian blue before and I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s deep, dark hue can not be overpowered in a mix. Mix it with Quinacridone Red or Rose Madder for the most gorgeous, rich purples.



Next I added a little more detailing to the hair, burnt sienna with a little ultramarine. Then the beginning color in the eyes with prussian blue. Here also I start building the scarf around the head with another wash of rose madder with a touch of Ultramarine.

The skin is glazed with a very light wash of burnt sienna and ultramarine and that brings us to the decision to mask or not to mask and I decide against it aEmily4nd opted to put in the face details. then next I worked on the scarf in sections, using Quinacridone red, rose madder and french ultramarine. I used a LOT of glazes and shading, building up the color in the folds.The

color mix used in the folds and creases is a really dark purple mix of quinacridone red and prussian blue. The quinacridone glazes start out looking brazenly cool red but then blend and dry to a lovely deep pink. Lastly comes the skins tones on the arms and hands. layering in spatters of light, mid-tone and dark mixtures of Burnt umber, a touch of ultramarine and rose madder for the freckles. Then finished off with the shading on temily scarfhe hands.emily freckles

And Done!


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