This week’s submission comes from artist Sarah Kashuba who has completed this portrait in watercolor.  This is a really interesting design and it makes you look twice at it, that is awesome! Anytime you can get someone to take a second look at your work is a good thing!!  
Sarah said in her submission “I would love if you could give me some tips on how to provoke a certain emotion in the face, this particular one I was trying to go for sadness. My style is abstract- ish ( not sure what to call it). Not realistic though!! You don’t see blue faces…”
First, being blue alone does not make this abstract. If you like making portraits different colors they can still be super realistic. There is an amazing artist in our group on facebook who used to post portraits that were done all in purple or other colors and they were more realistic than a lot of other portraits done with “normal” colors just because he had mastered his values.
When your goal is to master emotion, I think a great start is to study realism. Realism doesn’t need to be your end goal, but if you can get a solid understanding of anatomy and facial expressions you can then twist that into your own style.
Picasso was actually a master at realism. Many people don’t realize this because we think of eyes on the cheek and that sort of thing when we think of Picasso because that was what he was best known for. He first mastered realism though. He was able to use what he knew from that to create work that conveyed emotion in a totally different and unique style.  I am a firm believer that the more you know how to do, the more styles you try, the better your own style will become.
This doesn’t just go for style, but for the mediums you choose to work in as well. Master the medium! Practice shading perfectly smooth spheres, working on tiny detail, getting bolder gesture type strokes perfect, blending colors. Teach yourself everything you can about whatever mediums you like to work in. I often see where newer artists have these amazing concepts and ideas but they don’t want to take the time to learn the actual skill of painting (I’m not talking about you specifically here, but this brings up an important lesson). Normally I’ve experienced this with teenagers and artists in their early twenties. They use the excuse “this is just my style” to not learn the medium. If you can master the medium, its going to give you SO much freedom in creating things with your own unique style. It’s not about learning to copy other artist’s ways of painting, but learning to control and manipulate that medium into doing exactly what you want so that you can better express what you’re trying to get across with the artwork itself. That may require you to paint things you’re not as interested in, like florals for smooth blending and detail…but all that you learn from that can be applied to your own style, making it even stronger!
I love what you’re doing here! Keep painting and coming up with these great concepts!