WIP: Girl Reading

We started this portrait in class today, the niece of a friend of our teacher, sitting on the couch reading.


I started off trying to find a decent tan for the couch. First I tried our old favourite, French Ultramarine with Quin Burnt Orange, but I didn’t like the way it was coming up. Then I tried Winsor Yellow and Winsor Violet, but halfway through the couch I thought what was coming out was just a dirty couch. I tried just the pale Winsor Violet for the back of the couch and loved that.

After letting the couch dry, I went back over with a glaze of Winsor Violet. It still looks a bit dingy, but I’m told that’s what people couches look like.

Next I set in to apply the skin tones. Using a mix of Aureolin (Cobalt Yellow) and Cadmium Red Light, with just a dot of Cobalt Blue, I painted in both arms and the entire exposed head and face. This mix makes a pretty good white skin tone, and painting the scalp was intentional as it comes through the hair.

The girl’s dress was the cutest print of ice cream cones in lots of different colours. I didn’t try to create the cones, just the effect of bright colours.

Finally, I set to her hair. Using fast curving strokes, I put in first with Quin Burnt Orange, following up with some Quin Gold, and finally over that some French Ultramarine.

The last work I did in class was putting in the shadows around the eyes and ear, and the mouth, with Cad Red Light.

There is still a lot to be done on this painting, but I’m probably going to set it aside for now.



  • Arches 140lb cold press 9×12 block


  • Winsor Violet
  • Winsor Yellow
  • Aureolin
  • Cad Red LIght
  • Quin Burnt Orange
  • French Ultramarine
  • Rose Madder
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Cobalt Blue Violet
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Quin Gold
  • Sap Green
  • “Andy’s Green”
  • Permanent Rose


  • Dreamcatcher #14 round
  • Dreamcatcher #4 round