Saturday, January 04, 2014

Skin palette

When I paint portraits, people sometimes ask what colours I use.  I don't have a specific formula that I can provide, as it depends so much on the complexion of the individual.  Most skin tones that I create are varying mixes of red, yellow, blue and white.  I know that doesn't help if you're looking for specifics in terms of colour names and brands, but those colour choices change depending on the subject and what colours I have available.

For this portrait of my granddaughter I'm using cadmium red, yellow ochre and cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue, ultramarine violet,and titanium white. Brands are a mix of Utrecht, Kama Pigments and Winsor & Newton. I've added a small amount of Gamblin Radiant Turquoise and Radiant Red as well as Asphaltum in the darker shadows.

Each artist has her own favourite colour mixes and convenience colours in tubes that are to 'go to' when skin tones are needed.  As my grand daughter is so pale, I may add a glaze to the shadow side once the oils are dry to give some warmth and depth.  Of all the faces to paint, the ones that provide me with the most challenges are childrens faces.  A child's head shape and softer facial features take subtle value changes to create form and accurate representation.  Lots of measuring for accuracy is needed to keep a likeness.


Unknown said...

I agree about childrens faces... too many lines or shadows make them suddenly too old. But you do a beautiful job with them. I admire your skin tones too, and I guess that IS the secret... to not rely on a standard skin tone palette, but to choose colors suited to the individual subject and the surroundings. Good advice, and wonderful artwork! Thanks!


so very delicate jeanette .... keep warm .

Diane Hoeptner said...

Beautiful, Jeanette!! So many very subtle value changes, very delicate indeed. Her little fingertips are especially lovely.

suzanneberry said...

I can always tell when something blows me away by hearing myself say an out loud "OH WOW!" Jeanette, this is stunning at this stage!! Beautifully drawn and your application of paint is so masterful!! i'll be following this closely as it develops, i absolutely LOVE inspirational.Beautifully done! And thank you for sharing your palette!

and thank you so very much for your support of my 30 in 30! i so appreciate it!

Jeanette Jobson said...

Katherine, I think many people believe there is a formula for most any subject, whether landscape or portrait, but its really all down to observation isn't it? Seeing the colour changes and how they form and model something.

Thank you Jane, I shall. The weather's been miserable lately and pouring rain today, now freezing again. I long for spring.

Diane, the hands are what appealed to me so much in this image. And getting them just right is difficult. There's lot of paint going on and coming off and going on...

Awww thanks Suz. I know I'm biased as she is my grand daughter, but I'm trying to look at her objectively and really see colours and shapes and get them right. I've tried in the past on this image and failed, but I think its going in the right direction now.

Keep painting! You are flying.