In the fashion course we are examining the use of colour. This week we were painting using red. For our exercise we were using watercolours as we were working from light to dark. We completed a line drawing of the catwalk model. There is a great sense of movement in this particular exercise, the movement of the model forward and the way the material is moving. The reds I used: crimson, brilliant red, spectrum red and primary red. Working with reds can be tricky: if you get it “right” they are bright and beautiful – if you get it “wrong” they are dull and muddy. So how to get it “right”. Work from light to dark starting with the crimson, a very light wash of crimson all over the material area. Let that dry – you will be working in glazes, wet paint over dry. While that is drying you can mix your skin tone. I use a flesh tint from a tube but always add one other colour, so I added a small portion (5%) of burnt umber. Once I had mixed my skin tone I covered all the flesh area with a light wash. I then painted the head of hair: underpaint with yellow, and build up the colours using red and browns. Leave some of the underpainting showing to suggest a light source on the hair. I used a burnt umber to paint in the shapes of the eyes and the eyelashes and a primary blue for the colour of the eyes. I used a brilliant red for the lips. If you work in glazes the paints will not become dull or muddy looking.

Now you can work further on the dress. I used a range of reds as above and was mindful of folds in the material and how the material would hang on the models body to make the folds. There are also some darker red areas to paint in with the darkest tone of primary red: the leg bent back and the net across the arm where the hand is showing.

The shoe is a nice big shape, I used a spectrum red and added a pale wash of that colour for the shadow under the shoe and painted in the toenails with a darker tone of the same colour.