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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Summer 19 > Portraits in profile

Portraits in profile

Follow Aine Divine as she paints a watercolour portrait of her sitter’s profile
Hayley, watercolour, 22x15in (56x38cm)

If there’s one thing I love about watercolour it’s the capacity it gives us to be succinct. Seeing with clarity, then placing the mark with abandon is the order of the day. The more I paint, the more I value the process and the focus necessary when working from observation. There is poise, then a dynamic response – bravado and finesse in equal measure.

This painting process is full of paradoxes – I love it!

The first few marks feel like a beautiful spacious thing, an entering into unknown territory. I find where the brush first touches and then leaves the page in each stroke is of utmost importance. I describe the particular shape of the colour being seen by creating an island of that colour. The boundaries of that island explain the edges of the subject. Consistency of the pigment is key. You don’t want the colour being pulled down the page because it is too dilute, yet it has to be fluid enough to use with a few wellchosen moves. It’s a delightful process. I love it when drips extend to the edge of the page – I feel it anchors the person in space.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the summer issue of The Artist packed with articles by top professional artists and tutors to inspire, inform and help develop your technical and creative skills in all media. This month James Bartholomew discusses how he seeks to create more dynamic paintings using mixed-media techniques. Watercolourists will enjoy Aine Divine's demonstration showing how to paint a side profile portrait and Trevor Waugh's focus on how to capture flowers quickly using lost-and-found edge techniques. John Threlfall explains why pastels are ideal for capturing wildlife subjects and working in the field. There are also demonstrations and practical articles on how to add interest to your landscape foregrounds, capture a seasonal field of rapeseed, paint realistic-looking strawberries in acrylics and how to select the right colours and paint big summer skies. Plus we include articles on painting self-portraits, keeping a sketchbook , working on handmade linen boards, how to protect your work online, what you can and can't do about copyright issues, and more.