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Ask Nicola! Featuring Lydia Puente Harris

Ask Nicola! Featuring Lydia Puente Harris



I’m experimenting with something new today!


This is the very first session of Ask Nicola on my blog! This will be kind of like a Q&A for artists (and art creators – if the label freaks you out!) and I’ll post them every now and then.


In a nutshell, I’ll be featuring someone’s drawing or painting in progress, the reference images they’re using, what they’re trying to achieve and where they are getting stuck. Then I’ll let them know my two cents… :)


This idea came to me the other day while in my free e-course “Blank Canvas Phobia” facebook group. Lydia posted a photo of one of the paintings she was working on, asking some advice on how to move forward.


After writing back to her, I thought that this could make a fun blog series! We’ll all get to see each other’s work in progress and learn from each other’s challenges and accomplishments!


Lydia kindly agreed to be my first guinea pig, so here it is…



Lydia’s Q:


“This is a painting I’m working on at the moment – I have a long way to go with the faces and the hair. The background I think I might add a turquoise blue to. I’m worried it won’t be finished if I leave it the way it is now.”

(ok, so this isn’t technically a question as such, but you get the idea!)





My A:


I definitely would add more layers to the background to add more richness to the paintwork. You can always paint over the turquoise if it doesn’t feel right. Having a cooler background (like blue or green) will help the figure come forward more and the contrast will help the hair feel even warmer and more vibrant.


Here are the photos that Lydia used as a reference…


037     049



And here’s the progression of her painting…







Untitled 2



What a stunning result!


I love the way that Lydia experimented with different cool colours in the background to see what really worked. Each layer added more depth and richness to what was be added on top. Having a blue background with green highlights created a stunning contrast with the tones of the figure’s hair.


I also love how Lydia has subtly tied some of the green tones back into the figure’s face. The line work in the hair moves your eye around the painting and ties the whole piece together!


Thanks so much for sharing with us Lydia!


You can see more of Lydia’s artwork on her blog at


new sign green trimmed


PS If you’d like to be featured in a session of Ask Nicola, please email me at to see if we’re a good fit!


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