A poke bonnet was made of straw and was often then overlaid with other material, in this case, velvet. The hat had a small crown and a wide and rounded front brim. The hats were updated by the owners with ribbon, flowers, any adornment that brightened up a hat that otherwise could look a like tired: a very clever idea indeed. These adornments were usually pinned on as they would be taken off at some stage in the future. This hat has silk ribbons. 

We completed this in the Fashion Art class. First we drew the overall shape, bearing in mind that the face just about pokes out of the rim of the poke brim. The ribbon was the big challenge as all the twists and turns of the fabric gave a lot of though to the light and darks playing on the shine of the silk.  

To represent both of these fabrics when using watercolours the key technique is to work from light to dark. I under painted the velvet with yellow ochre to suggest a light source. When that was 100% dry I used a range of brown colours: light red, burnt umber and burnt sienna. The purpose of using these layers of colours is to give the material the depth and weight of a heavy material. I mixed a dark brown – burnt umber with 30% ultramarine blue – for the inside of the poke brim. The ribbon – I mixed a purple biased chromatic black and made some weak washes of this mix. I used the weak wash to paint all the ribbon. When dry, I started using the dark mix of paint, leaving areas of the light tone where the light was shining on the ribbon. This took some time but it is a lovely piece of material to paint. 

I used a basic skin tone for the face and burnt sienna for the lips. I then painted the coat using and finishing up my brown mixes.