Ambiguous, Watercolor and India Ink on Arches paper, 10″ x 14″.

Any resemblance to Tom Cruise is a pure coincidence. Or a mistake.

The original inspiration for this watercolor was a great photograph / portrait I ran into on Tumblr.


I liked the slight asymmetry in the eyes of the model. It was something I wanted to exaggerate. As I was painting the sitter’s right eye in, I though for a split second I had ruined the watercolor -but somehow it worked.

The model in the photograph has several unusual characteristics -most notably the jaw line, and the shape of his left ear. I kept that in and modified the proportions of the face to accentuate the feeling of ambiguity you get by looking at the watercolor.

The pink stains on the face add to the texture and add intensity to the eyes -the benefit of using a complementary color close (but not too close) to the eyes.