Step-by-Step Miniature Painting Demonstration

Given the level—and the layers—of detail present in Gregory Raymond Halili’s watercolor miniatures, you may be amazed to discover that he’s working on a miniature scale: Most of his paintings are between 1×1 inch and 10×12 inches. He explains how he achieves his finely rendered watercolor miniatures with this step-by-step painting progression:

“Every painting and subject is different, so each is tackled differently. For the more biomorphic forms like portraits and butterflies, the underlying drawing is created in fine ochre or yellow lines, using a 3×0 brush. For the architectural details of New York City cityscapes, I start by accurately drawing the foundation of the subject with a very sharp pencil. The first washes are mostly on the first stages when I create the underpainting. The rest are stages of controlled detailing and layering of colors. I determine the right consistency of paint and water by testing the brushstrokes on another paper before putting it on the actual artwork. Controlling watercolor on a very small scale is almost like meditation. One has to be very calm. Even a small jitter can have an effect in creating precise lines.”


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Gregory Raymond Halili was born in Manila, Philippines, in 1975. He received his B.F.A. from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His work has appeared in numerous exhibitions and shows. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and young daughter. To learn more about the artist, see the December 2007 issue of Watercolor Magic.

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