I really like this painting done in about 1 1/2 hours during class yesterday. I haven’t done portraits for a number of years and something is clicking now that I didn’t understand back then. It’s very liberating to just slosh the paint on. It’s a real compromise because about 50% of it is my control of the medium and 50% is the paint and water doing their own thing and this balance makes it an exciting process. I used a limited palette of Cad Scarlet, Quinacridone Rose, Naples Yellow, Ultramarine Violet and a little Viridian. I began by soaking the paper except for the white on the cheek, nose and the beard. Then I just washed in gobs of the yellow and cad scarlet and took it from there adding darks as things began to dry. The ultra violet and viridian are colours I’ve adopted only in the last year primarily because of the Stephen Quiller workshop I went to last summer. I find them both very useful colours. For some chemical reason that I don’t understand they are both what I would call ‘weak’ colours by which I mean that you have to use lots of the paint to get any kind of darker value. It’s easy to go through tubes of these 2 colours quite quickly. As opposed to the way I’ve traditionally done self portraits (using a mirror) this one was from a photo that I took to try to get a more interesting pose. Anyway the hour and a half to do this painting just flew by. Finally, when things are working well in watercolour it seems like you can’t do anything wrong. In this painting I just felt like adding a little splatter. After taking a deep breath I just flicked the brush at the paper a few times and it seemed to add a nice touch especially in the beard.