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Roan
02-12-2001, 11:58 PM
I posted this in portraiture, but I thought I'd ask everyone here as well:

I see purple and violet shades in everyone's skin. Others say they see blue and green. All the wonderful paintings I see having blues and greens. I rarely see any green. I used to use purple a lot for my portraits but shied away because it "wasn't right". I have no problem, I think, seeing colors in animals or inantimate objects.

So, my question(s):

Is purple right or wrong? Am I color blind when it comes to human skin or am I just seeing the result of the skin tone's mix of blues and pinks? How come I don't see the greens everyone else sees? I see greenish umbers, never the "real" greens.

I don't think I'm color blind that way, maybe I just "mix" my colors optically without thinking?

This has been puzzling me for a while and causing me problems when I paint people.

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<FONT face="Script MT Bold"><FONT COLOR="#AB4835"><FONT size="5">Roan</FONT s></FONT c></FONT f>
<FONT COLOR="#8A1010">Call caraid tadhal tric, 's call caraid tadhal ainmig.</FONT c>
-- <FONT size="1">Friends are lost by calling often, and by calling seldom.</FONT s>
RoanStudio.com (http://RoanStudio.com) &lt;-- pastel open stock vendor sources & reviews!

EquusAlba
02-14-2001, 01:01 AM
Well, Roan, I'm in something of the same boat. I can see reflected color from clothing or the background *sometimes*, but I have a hard time seeing all the green that people mention being a significant part of facial shadows. The umber tone you refer to I have a hard time seeing as a green - I tend to see it as a dark yellow. I do see blue here and there as shadow - kind of an indigo shade, so in that sense close to a blue-violet, often in the dark circles under my own eyes. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

I do have to say, though, that I have severe near-sightedness - there's even some distortion left with the glasses - and so I tend to see things a bit fuzzier and more blended than they might actually be.

Sometimes I wonder, though, how much the existence of any color 'in' any object is an issue of interpretation. Do people see what they see because it's what they expect to see, what they've been taught to see? Is green there because 'everyone knows' it's the opposite of red on the color wheel and shadows are 'always' the complement of the mass tone? Is it a 'paradigm' issue? I don't know.

This has been a real barrier for me in trying to depict the human figure - I've always felt like I 'see it wrong' because I don't see it like the artists who write the books see it. I'm more satisfied with a palette of various earth tones that I select based upon the subject and, of course, white, if one is discussing oils. Most of the time, I get to that stage, and never pick up the pastels or put the paint on the palette because I feel like it's 'wrong' to do it that way.

And yes, I know I have a problem there: I had a horrid experience in college with an avant-garde professor that left me feeling so much a failure at having artistic sensibilities or the artist's eye (both of which she droned on about endlessly as being required to understand 'real' fine art) that I gave up my artwork for more than a decade. It still leaks through.

So, all of this is just an attempt to say that you're not alone. I suppose if one dug into the physics and biology of 'seeing' one would likely find that various people have different strengths in different areas of the spectrum. That might even account for why people have different favorite colors - which one 'sings' for a given person might have more to do with the person seeing that color more vividly than other colors.

But, to be perfectly honest, isn't that why artistic vision should be individual - because we all see the world differently?

Just my tuppence worth ...

Judith

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Judith Northwood
Northwood Studios (http://www.northwood.org/studios)

bruin70
02-14-2001, 04:54 AM
you are right,,,,,,,as well as everyone else. you can only see what YOU can see. don't fight it. if you paint this purple color that you see, does it look right or wrong? if it looks wrong, then why,,,,,,,,,if that's what you see. if it looks right, then there's no problem......{<FONT COLOR="red">M</FONT c>}

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"it's alright to be judgmental,,,,,,,,if you have taste"...MILT

cagathoc
02-15-2001, 09:07 AM
I adore purple...

<IMG SRC="http://members.tripod.com/cagathoc/153b7f30.jpg" border=0>

But I paint what I'd like to see not what I see...

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Cindy~

pixelscapes
02-15-2001, 06:09 PM
Is purple "right or wrong"?

If the purple works for you and you like the effect, then it's right for you. If it doesn't work for you and you don't like the effect, then maybe it's wrong for you. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

I can see why some people would object to purple in theory... lots of people don't see certain colors in certain pictures. But they are still there in a way, just depends on who's looking and on the intensity.

I cranked the intensity on this photo of Cate Blanchett... I see some purple in there, don't you? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Look at the backs of her arms...
<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/lib/15-Feb-2001/cateblanchett.jpg" border=0>

-=- Jen "That falls under fair use! It's instructional!" de la Cruz
http://www.BewareOfArt.com and http://www.Pixelscapes.com

[This message has been edited by pixelscapes (edited February 15, 2001).]

SueFletcher
02-16-2001, 02:37 AM
Color use is a big aspect of emotional expression in painting for me. I don't think in terms of "A" color being right or wrong, rather, what does it do for the work as a whole in the way that it is used. Just a thought!

Roan
02-16-2001, 06:26 AM
Thanks, guys :P

I my reluctance partially stems from hearing landscape people talk about how they never saw shadows properly until they began to look more closely. Then instead of just darks, they saw greens and blues. Also from some posts in Critiques that were really adamant about green.

I guess if I think I see purple, I'll just darn well use purple then :P

Cindy:
Your use of purple in your paintings is what woke me up and made me realize that purple just might be "okay" :P

Jen:
I see purple all over that photo and lovely violets in her cheeks. :P

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<FONT face="Script MT Bold"><FONT COLOR="#AB4835"><FONT size="5">Roan</FONT s></FONT c></FONT f>
<FONT COLOR="#8A1010">Call caraid tadhal tric, 's call caraid tadhal ainmig.</FONT c>
-- <FONT size="1">Friends are lost by calling often, and by calling seldom.</FONT s>
RoanStudio.com (http://RoanStudio.com) &lt;-- pastel open stock vendor sources & reviews!

tammy
02-16-2001, 08:36 PM
Same boat here too. I never see the green, blue or even purple really that people tell me are supposed to be in portraits. Now, red like in checks I really see that!
All I ever is is flesh color with some of it kind of dark.
It's funny thought because in Landscape I can see the brown/black/yellow etc under the shadow yet don't know how to paint it that way. Oh, what a predicterment!

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Don't worry, its gonna be all right....
Tammy's Home for Artists (http://tammy.artistnation.com)

Roan
02-17-2001, 08:20 PM
Nog nog, Tammy :P

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<FONT face="Script MT Bold"><FONT COLOR="#AB4835"><FONT size="5">Roan</FONT s></FONT c></FONT f>
<FONT COLOR="#8A1010">Call caraid tadhal tric, 's call caraid tadhal ainmig.</FONT c>
-- <FONT size="1">Friends are lost by calling often, and by calling seldom.</FONT s>
RoanStudio.com (http://RoanStudio.com) &lt;-- pastel open stock vendor sources & reviews!

tammy
02-17-2001, 09:31 PM
Well, I'm ssssooooooorryyyyy. To me everyone is pink or brown, flesh or black! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Don't worry, its gonna be all right....
Tammy's Home for Artists (http://tammy.artistnation.com)

Roan
02-18-2001, 08:37 PM
Tammy,

Hrm. From the tone of your message I think I'd better explain what a "nog" is :P

A "nog" is a "MUDese" word for a very emphatic nod of agreement. Ergo, I was agreeing with you MOST emphatically :P

Hugs!

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<FONT face="Script MT Bold"><FONT COLOR="#AB4835"><FONT size="5">Roan</FONT s></FONT c></FONT f>
<FONT COLOR="#8A1010">Call caraid tadhal tric, 's call caraid tadhal ainmig.</FONT c>
-- <FONT size="1">Friends are lost by calling often, and by calling seldom.</FONT s>
RoanStudio.com (http://RoanStudio.com) &lt;-- pastel open stock vendor sources & reviews!

tammy
02-19-2001, 09:24 PM
Hehe, I thought you were puttin a nog on my noggin! I'm not a mudder!
My sorry was not a tone but was in jest with a big ole smile on me face!
:0 http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Don't worry, its gonna be all right....
Tammy's Home for Artists (http://tammy.artistnation.com)

Paintbrush74
03-19-2001, 07:13 PM
Painting things as you see them is what makes your art your own. It's part of what makes you unique.

tonymarzi
03-29-2001, 07:46 PM
I think that if you can get away with putting purple or any other color in your flesh tones without it looking bad, the i say do it.
but thats my $.02

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<FONT size="3"> http://www.tonymarzi.com </FONT s>
[email protected]

alfonsina
04-03-2001, 01:35 PM
Purple should be fine, if that is what you see! Magenta mixed with a warm yellow makes a fine violet appearing shadow. I would keep the highlights and middle tones towards yellow (ochre?) to keep up a tonal harmony.Make sure the rest of your composition contains some of these colors. If the figure is outside for example, you may have to add more violet to your blue sky etc. You can push your purple to a blushish tone and work with a warmer pink/orange midtone. Have fun, Alfonsina.

Linda Ciallelo
05-10-2001, 06:42 PM
There's purple and there's purple.
Whenever someone "talks" about a color, there are a large number of different colors that can pop into your head that might be called by that name. It is so much better to talk about "pigments", then we will know what color you are referring to. For instance , I've seen everything from a cherry red to an ultramarine blue "called" purple. I think that there should be a law that noone in the manufacturing industry can ever call a color something like "Iris" or "sunset".:-)
I have recently found some pigments that seem to be pleasing for flesh, and they include caput mordum( mars violet). I borrowed this idea from Milt, but I'm using it a little differently. I paint an underpainting in diluted terra verte(green earth) in the shadows and white in the light. My underpainting has only "two" values, and two colors, white and green. Then when it's dry, I start to put burnt sienna(mixed with a little white)over the green, and use raw sienna and a little caput mordum , with a lot of white, for the light parts of the skin, plus a warm orangey red for cheeks, nose and ear lobes, etc. I love the mars violet( caput mordum) and the terra verte(green earth) in the deep shadows. It just seems like a good start for people.
My point is that Caput mordum( mars violet) is a good color to use in your flesh pallette, but I'm not sure that I feel the same about ultramarine violet, or cobalt violet, etc. etc. Any violet that you use will need to be warmed, at some point, with some yellow and /or red, in order to appear natural. I think.
Linda C.