Based on Serenity, by Cherry Hood (http://2.bp.blogspot.com /_XR-KrVdS_F8/SkTJQSlmDAI /AAAAAAAAAJk/GUGFeoXcKiE/
s400/Serenity_2004.jpg). Therefore, not my own original work. I don't claim it is. I did, however, change the original to look older and perhaps more violent. This was done in order to practice the technique - it's a technical study. Lots of really good lessons here: in particular, learning to vary how much water to apply to paint in order to get certain tones and textures. For example, more water = more fading, more bleeding. Around the eyes and lips I tried applying a small blotch of unwatered paint and then wetting the brush and spreading it out - this allowed me to create much more effective gradients, and shadows/colours emerging from a single point/angle.
I used a lot of pencil for this one (4b & 6b, for shading awesome) because I wanted to capture the same about of detail that Hood does in her portraits - but because she works on a much larger scale than I do (her canvases are 2m high, mine are A3) I realized it would be impossible to do with watercolour, no matter how small my brush, simply because of the bleeding qualities of the paint and the texture of the watercolour paper. As such, I decided to use pencil in order to outline and shade areas. I really wanted to avoid black paint as much as possible because it's such an overpowering shade that any application, no matter how watered-down, dominates the composition. Pencil would give me a lot more control and depth over shading. It's something that I definitely want to explore in much greater detail.