i wasn't going to post this but only put the finished product on wet canvas, but i decided to put this up just in case anybody woke up this morning and said, "i wish i could see a mediocre copy of a vermeer masterpiece done in watercolor from someone from the west coast of wisconsin". for all those multitudes, here 'tis.
the skin tone and facial features are so delicate that i felt an initial light wash of my favorite colors for caucasian skin (cadmium red light, cadmium yellow pale, and cerulean blue) was indicated. as everything around her face was going to be quite dark i did not need to be too careful with edges except at the collar which was going to be predominantly white and therefore untouched paper. i decided at the same time to experiment a bit with some of the surrounding darks, namely the small bit of background in front of the face and the hat over her left (our right) temple. as i didn't want a hard edge here i also put in the shadow lateral to the near eye socket and over the temple. i then turned my attention to her nose and put the dark shadow on the under plane and drew the color up and over with a damp, clean brush. i painted her eyes with a #2 round and a darker combination of the same flesh tones except i substituted the cad. yellow with raw sienna. i started with the shadow under the upper lid, put in the iris with burnt umber and a little ultramarine blue carefully preserving the highlight. i carried this down only about 2/3's of the way and drew the pigment down with a damp, clean brush for the bottom third. i released this into the lower lid and finished out the shadow there with a damp brush. this was repeated more or less the same on each side. the medial socket shadow on the near eye was put in with a bit of cerulean and then completed by joining up with the nose shadow using the regular flesh colors. i then started blocking in the local color on the clothing and bottom part of the "tassel" hanging off the back of her turban-like hat.
i then blocked in the local color of the blue part of the hat with combinations of cerulean blue near the front and gradually changing to ultramarine blue at the rear out of the light. some more of the background in front of the face was painted in with ivory black and hunter's green. i painted the mouth nest and the shadow under the lower lip and blended that into the side plane shadow the extended from the temple down across the jaw to the neck using flesh pigments a bit stronger in the reds. the earrings are important to this portrait historically and i was careful to preserve it location below the earlobe.