Pride Month and Direct Watercolor Portraits

June was a good time to start reading A Queer History of the United States. And since June is also when Marc Holmes and Uma Kelkar host the Direct Watercolor Challenge, I thought I’d paint portraits related to Pride Month. (Wondering what direct watercolor is? Read more about it in this post by Marc)

My portrait project didn’t get too far but here are four little watercolor portraits of some pretty amazing human beings.You can read more about each of these people by clicking their names for a wikipedia link.

Alan Turing
Harvey Milk
Bayard Rustin
Barbara Gittings

Some quick thoughts on attempting portraits in direct watercolor:

  • Direct Watercolor works best for me with ‘forgiving’ subjects: landscapes, florals, even cityscapes where the exact placement of a mountain, a petal or a telephone pole won’t change the feel of a piece. With portraits, every bit of wonkiness detracts from the whole. In a situation like that, I’m best off with an armature of pencil drawing.
  • I should have started with loose pencil drawing. I know that seems odd given that it’s a direct watercolor challenge. But in retrospect, the point of the challenges is to be able to paint loosely and boldly and if I’d used some pencil drawing to free my brushwork, I would have been better off. Instead I ended up “drawing” too much with my brush, creating fiddly pieces.
  • What all the fussing led to was too much of a focus on getting bits of my painting to be in the “right place” and no space for focussing on what is most important in a portrait: capturing the spirit of the person.

Next time, I’ll choose a subject that aligns better to the challenge. And though I didn’t make it too far, I really enjoyed seeing all the inspiring posts through June on the facebook group. Thanks Uma and Marc for putting in work into hosting this challenge!

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Activism, challenge, people, Portrait and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pride Month and Direct Watercolor Portraits

  1. These are very good portraits, keep it up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Frankye says:

    Thank you so much for posting these portraits. I hope some folks are curious enough to look up information on some of these wonderful LGBTQ folks. My days as an activist are pretty much over, but Im out there when I am able.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As a work of water colour, the curves of lips, the contour on the skin, the depth in their eyes, the very countenance here is indeed an expression. Well-painted. 👍

    Liked by 2 people

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