From the artist, Marisa Gabetta: “I loved this image at first sight, being a watercolorist I love dramatic light so I decided to give this wonderful ‘couple’ a try. The goal in this painting was to render the tired face of sleepless Anne-Marie, and the backlit kissing mother and son in a sort of magical aura. I also decided I’d change the background, artistic license, they say!”
Marisa explains her artist process: “Starting out with a drawing of the photograph, masking fluid (the gray liquid) is added where the painting is to stay white. Then, the first wash is applied with two different yellows. The first color is a very pale yellow, and the second is a warmer and more intense yellow. The background is only done with the richer yellow to give it a more structured color.” And for the dark green in the background, Marisa painted strokes of blue over the yellow, leaving gaps so the color wasn’t uniform.”
She says, “Translucent orange is added to the background, topped with more yellow, and yellow is also added to my hair. Then another layer of blue, slowly building up the background.” Marisa mentioned that each layer has to be bone-dry before adding the next, so this process must take quite some time!
Continuing to build up the background with darker glazes, Marisa also starts to work on the skin tones; she said it’s a combination of Phtalo blue, Ultramarine finest, and Alizarin crimson on top of a wash of the two yellows.
Here’s where you see the development of the T-shirt folds, some more brush strokes are added to my hair with diluted black, some more masking fluid is added to my hair, and Jamisen’s shirt begins coming to life. This also shows more building and depth of color on the skin tones, and the beginnings of finer detail on my hair (and Jamisen’s baby fuzz!). Our faces are also starting to make their appearance!
Our faces continue to develop, and we obtain the gift of sight. Masking fluid is removed and adds instant highlights! More and more detail is added to our faces and heads.
More work on the hair, adding depth and contrast. Marisa said that this was also the stage where she was trying to capture the sleeplessness in my face. She said it was imperative to capture that aspect of motherhood. Oh, how I remember those sleepless nights!
The last few details are added (do I look exhausted yet?) and the final picture really starts to shine here. Touches of red are added, and the piece is ironed to get rid of buckles.
The camera just can’t capture the true beauty of the watercolor portrait! All the fine layers and details really shine when you look at Jamisen and I. I just got the watercolor framed and am picking a perfect place to hang it in our home.