Red Hand No.4 (pencil and watercolor)

watercolor portrait painting
Here is the fourth in a series I’ve been calling, alternately, ‘Don’t see, don’t speak‘ or (informally, and more frequently) ‘The Red Hand of Shut It‘.

Symbolically speaking, it’s about being lied to and/or being silenced— not having a voice. Or, I guess, any nature of marginalization or suppression, whether personal or on a larger scale. It needs expanding. (Let’s talk about war; it’s Memorial Day Weekend.)

I began with the pencilling Friday evening and finished with watercolor Sunday. Below are images showing the process if you’re interested.

Early phase of drawing. Using a woodless HB pencil. Start light; employ a kneaded eraser to edit.

Continuing to fill in; darkening up. I sketch in the shapes of things lightly then add more and more graphite and pressure.
Continuing to fill in; darkening up. I sketch in the shapes of things lightly— then add more and more graphite / pressure to deepen the shadows.

First layers of grey watercolor. After the pencilling is finished, I spray with Krylon workable fixative, then begin with paint. Watercolor, as the name implies, remains soluble and blendable (forever)— so, a light spritzing of fixative between satisfactory layers allows the process to be additive, rather than a blending situation, which is more to my way of working. You can build layer upon layer.
Continued ‘layering’ with watercolor— and fixative as I reach each acceptable or satisfactory level. Adding upon the grey, moving towards some velvet blacks.


watercolor portrait painting
…and, Boom! The finished piece (again, for continuity.)

I’ve been asked by several folks if these are available. First two were done in my Moleskine sketchbook, so those are mine forever. However! I’m gonna make giclée prints available on my Etsy shop, so keep an eye out. Links to come.

Meanwhile, follow my drawings in short form on instagram.

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Soundtrack while working: Hozier, Ivan & Alyosha, Hey Marseilles, Gregory Alan Isakov

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