Peg Lefebvre – January 10, 2022 – “Steps to a Successful Watercolor Painting”

After the OAG members’ meeting on January 10, 2022, Peg LeFebvre shared insights into her creative process of painting marvelous character portraits, from concept, drawing, then stages of painting. Peg often includes the person’s hands in the portrait because hands can convey so much about the person. Peg began her study of art with sculpture, a fact that she feels helps her bring dimension to images on paper. She begins each work with a contour or wire pencil drawing, then a full-toned pencil sketch.

Peg prefers to work on Arches 300# Cold Press, but even when using 140# watercolor paper she foregoes the preliminary soaking and stretching and works directly on the dry paper. Peg showed that a simple palette of Aureolin Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, and Permanent Rose can develop nearly every nuance of color needed for a portrait. Artists can experiment with other triads of Y-B-R for different moods and effects. Peg finds she needs only three brushes, 1 inch flat, medium, and smaller detail brush. Simplicity!

Painting began with her 1-inch brush. Peg allowed the yellow and red to mingle for flesh tones. The base layer is then allowed to dry before building up the facial structure in the next layer with gentle “kisses” of brush and paint to paper. As the portrait develops, intense darks add to the drama.

Thank you, Peg, for giving us valuable tips to improve our watercolor portraits. Most important, we need to believe in ourselves and invest the time, every day, to hone our skills. Thank you for believing in us!!!!

The photos below were taken by Gail Bannock and John Ford during the members’ meeting and Peg’s wonderful demonstration. Enjoy!