Do you remember this lady? It’s a good while since I attempted to do some portrait “treasures” for my meander book. The small size is a good focus, however, and a chance to paint in watercolour again.
I am bothered about the faces in my “big” picture, trying to work out how much detail I need to put in them. Then I remembered William Hogarth’s “The Shrimp Girl”. The vitality of her face is caught with so few brush strokes. I felt sure she would aid me in my dilemma.
So, I made her the next “treasure”, knowing that the close observation required to paint her in minature would be a great study. I made a careful drawing, just enough to delineate the areas of tone, then, using very dilute Sepia I washed the paper except for her face and frilly cap. A light wash of dilute Burnt Sienna over the face completed this stage.
I darkened the underside of her tray, her hood and hair, leaving thin strips where the light catches the edges. She has a rosy glow to her face except where it is in the shadow of her tray, and her clothes also show warmth, so in with Burnt Sienna touched by Permanent Rose. Her eyes are very simply done, just a flick of dark added to the dark irises and a very slight shadow under the eye. Her happy smile is really only two tiny blobs joined by a line. Add blue for the shadows in her white cap and on the “shrimp” measure at the front of her tray, and she is done. She looks more modern than Hogarth’s girl, and I’ve managed to tilt her head slightly so she doesn’t look quite so happy. Evenso, I have to say I’m pleased with her. As a bonus, those “big” faces look more manageable now.