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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > June 19 > Face painting

Face painting

Amanda Hyatt demonstrates how to paint faces in watercolour in order to achieve an interesting representation rather than an identical copy
Reading, watercolour, 291⁄2x371⁄2in (75x95cm)

This is not an article about portraiture although the elements in drawing up the basic shape of the face are the same. A painting of a face should capture the personality or essence of the subject, something of that person’s uniqueness.

Today, with the immediacy of photography, there can be too much pressure on portrait artists for a face painting to be photorealistic. When this happens, photography will always overpower art – and this applies to other subjects as well. Can you really paint that sunset to make it look as beautiful as it is? You can try but you will never get it to look as good as it does in a photo. But your artistic effort will give you a representation of it. It’s the same with face painting. When you aim to paint a representation of the face without it having to be an identical copy, the pressure eases and the face painting will look similar to the person but with quirks, and much more interesting. Painting watercolour portraits in a life-class situation in one session is difficult as there is no time for immediate correction – see Kwame (right).

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About The Artist

Welcome to the June issue of The Artist. As we look forward to the UK summer Martin Taylor demonstrates how to paint a seasonal bluebell wood, whilst cover artist, Haidee-Jo Summers, invites us to join her in painting our gardens and focus on capturing light and colour. Learn how to control your watercolour brushwork with Hazel Soan, try sketching on the go with James Willis, bring your waves to life in your coastal scenes with Jenny Aitken, and know when and how to varnish your oil paintings with guidance from Graham Webber. Our top artist-contributors also offer advice, step-by-step demonstrations and inspirational practical features on working from different source material, painting characterful faces, how to select a core palette of colours for landscape painting, the benefits of working with water-mixable oils, the value of a positive wish list, and much more. Enter our various competitions with fantastic prizes up for grabs and understand how to use regular e-newsletters to promote your work with some great tips from our regular gallerist Mark David Hatwood. Enjoy developing your skills in all media with The Artist this month!