I decided to use water colour paints but opted to use smooth paper rather than water colour paper. I drew the outline of picture and used masking fluid on the high visibility white areas in the eyes, lips and teeth.
Next, I worked on the background. I used Prussian blue on the bottom left and allowed yellow ochre to mix with the top section in a wet on wet pattern. I used cadmium orange on the top right and a green made of Prussian blue and yellow ochre on the bottom left. I added a couple of background details from the photo and added a pale pink wash to Lia's face neck and arms.
Then I worked on the tone of the skin with additional brush stokes in the darker areas. I used a small round brush and a rigger brush for the hair. The eyes were coloured with Prussian blue and the centre with indigo blue.
I felt that the portrait could be improved by catching more of Lia's essential joy. I decided to paint the portrait again, but this time I used water colour paper and more masking fluid, to depict Lia's fine hair. I decided to make the background more dramatic and leave out the details from the photo. I allowed more wet in wet mixture of the background colours and used salt on the left side to produce the starburst effect.
One of the wonderful characteristics of water colour is that each time you paint the same subject you get a different picture. You have to learn to live with the fact that you are not completely in control of the pigments. This is the final picture, incorporating the changes I made.