Creation of a Portrait Painting: Work in Progress “Girl with Watermelon”

I thought I’d let the kids have half an hour screen time this afternoon while I played around at the easel.

Want to see how far I got in … ahem …2 hours?

sketch for portrait painting of girl with watermelon

Preparatory sketch for portrait painting "Girl with Watermelon"

I have two dark grey sheets of PaselMat paper left from the 30 x 40 cm sample pad I ordered from the States last year so thought I’d better put one to use.

I am working from a photo taken by my photographer friend, Graeme Taylor. I love working from his photos as they have a vitality about them which make beautiful drawings. “Grandma” and “Nanna” on my gallery page were created from his photos.

I started with a rough drawing in a sanguine pastel pencil, just to get a feel for where everything is.




applying the first pastel strokes to the portrait painting

Applying pastel to the portrait painting using the side of the stick


Next I started applying some pastel with the side of the stick.





You’re going to have to brace yourself for the next picture…





scary looking sketch for girl with watermelon

The scary stage!


This is the rather frightening stage that most of my portraits seem to go through. But trust me – she’ll come good!


I apply colour tonally during this stage in a fragmented way.







The most urgent thing required now is the eyes – getting the eyes approximately right sets the feel of the rest of the piece for me. I usually fall back on my drawing techniques when painting the eyes, particularly on a small piece like this. I reverted to conte sticks today which are harder than soft pastels and have a finer tip.


more detailed sketch

She's looking human now!

This stage probably took an hour.  She will change a lot from here until the end – the skin colour will change and a few angles need fixing. I also want to try to capture her cheeky look.

Oh – and then there’s the hands. They’ll probably take me two hours on their own! 🙂

Keep an eye out for the next instalment!

You can see some of Graeme’s beautiful photo portraits here:



Post to Twitter

Leave a Comment

Filed under Child Portraits, Pastel Paintings and Drawings, Portrait Painting Children, Portrait Paintings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.