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captain bravo
09-09-2002, 11:15 PM
anyone that can help me will be a hero. i need a good workable
formula for mixing flesh tones for all skin colors. so far everything
i've mixed up ends up looking the same and kinda muddy.
anybody want to help me out. i'm currently working on an
american indian face and need HELP!!!

cobalt fingers
09-10-2002, 07:40 PM
color is color and stuff is stuff.

Do you paint other things pretty easily? Paint skin like it were anything else-or paint other things well first, then come back to skin later.

Artist would be wise to choose the subjects carefully and in the right order.

captain bravo
09-10-2002, 10:19 PM
thanks for your constructive input i guess i will one day be a
knowledgeable " veteran " like yourself.

puzzlinon
09-10-2002, 10:42 PM
The success of skin tones (like other stuff) usually has more to do with the harmony of the painting colors than to being "true" skin tone. It doesn't <i>seem</i> that way, because you're looking at skin tones that look "wrong" but you're not sure why. Often the problem is that you built the skin tones by trying to paint skin rather than by trying to paint a component of the painting.

Take the principal colors you've used in the general painting, and play with mixing pairs of them (and white) until you get something plausible (not skin tone, but something in the ballpark), and start modeling the facial features with it, and see where that takes you.
Surprising pairs make good skin tones when mixed with white to get the right values (purple and bright green, for instance, or certain of the blues and yellows with a dash of red).

captain bravo
09-10-2002, 10:46 PM
PUZZLINON,
thanks for the input..i guess i thought there was a basic starting point for all flesh tones but i see what you mean and i will try it.


captain bravo

cobalt fingers
09-11-2002, 09:51 AM
It's like asking,"is there a pallette for painting white tableclothes?"

the light and atmosphere etc all will so effect the subject that any formulas are silly. Most portrait painters with formulas paint weak formula likenesses that have chalky colors-lights into their darks and dull tones in the lights-happy to hit at a comfortable near success...even if these people do write books and are on huge portrait societies boards of directors.

captain bravo
09-11-2002, 09:59 AM
thanks again cobalt,
i see in your example, a ton of different tones and colors , so i will look at my subject photo and try to see what i'm looking at a little better. captain bravo

jackiesimmonds
09-11-2002, 12:15 PM
As you have discovered from the somewhat ambiguous answers you've been given so far, painting skin is NOT that straightforward. But then again, neither is painting a white tablecloth, as Cobalt points out, or a red wall or a blue vase. Fine if you are a house painter - you go and get a tin of red, or blue, to paint that door ... but we painters have to deal with so many variables.

Light on your subject will change the TONE of the colour you are seeing, and also the TEMPERATURE of the colour.

So, for example, sunlight falling from one side onto, say, a red ball, will obviously make the red lighter where it hits the ball, won't it. Then, there will be a shadow side to that ball. (I know this sounds simplistic, and you are probably thinking "good grief what planet is this woman on, of course I know all this", but I believe you need to start from here.)

So that was tone - now for temperature. The sunlight will make the red warm, and more orange. And in the shadow, the red will be cooler, and bluer.

There are specific lessons you can learn, from books on light and colour and painting generally, which will help you to learn a lot about tone, and colour temperature, and the temperature of light, etc. It isn't rocket science - it is fascinating, and it will help.

Where skin is concerned, you need to assess the lightness or darkness of the basic skin tone (a red indian might have very different skin colouring to me, for instance), and then you need to assess the way the light is striking the skin (and what kind of light it is - for example, a red-shaded lamp will make skin look very different to bright sunlight) and altering the colours and tones. And as someone in a previous post pointed out, the other colours around the subject might well impact on the colouring of the model.

Bearing a few of these simple things in mind - just get those paints out, and do your best to paint exactly what you see. That means LOOKING, not assuming what is there. Photos aren't always helpful in that respect - try using a family member or friend if you can.

captain bravo
09-11-2002, 02:29 PM
jackie',
thanks to you also. i've been painting for about a year and 4 months so i am still trying my hand at a little of everything. i'll take the advice to heart...captain bravo

Drew Davis
09-14-2002, 05:45 PM
People are kinda orange.

Yes, that doesn't even begin to cover it. (See all those earlier messages.) But if I had to cite a "basic starting point" that would be it. Of course, people are yellower and redder and lighter and darker, and more and less neutral, all over that whole quadrant of the color wheel. And even on one single person, there's a lot of variation in hue. See, for instance, the back of your hand, and look at the color changes where the veins are, or the knuckles. And that's even before you start worrying about the effect of the light, or how the colors tie into the color harmony of your painting. Painting flesh tones isn't hard because it's hard to mix a color that's appropriate for flesh. It's hard becase there's no one single color even on a single subject. It's highly variable.

A formula like "white + raw sienna + mars red + cerulean" won't even begin to cover it. That sort of thing is about as useful advice as my "kinda orange", and wouldn't really be much more helpful if they included exact proportions, because you'll have to modify the color anyway.

It might also help to keep in mind that what really counts is how the colors read when you're done, not what colors they actually are. Take a look at the "earth tones fruit bowl" thread, and consider how the colors there convince you of their identity, even when there's really no blue in the blueberry or saturated red for the apple. It's all of a piece. Whatever colors you adopt will have to fit into the rest of the work, and so are bound to keep changing from subject to subject -- just like all the other colors for all the other objects.

captain bravo
09-16-2002, 11:48 AM
yes they are...thanks drew... actually i pulled out a couple of faces i was practicing on and this was before i got too hung up on looking for a recipe, and the colors are a lot looser and more effective, so i will look for all the colors that will be more dramatic and pleasing than worrying about a " formula"...thanks to all of you....captain bravo

cobalt fingers
09-17-2002, 09:34 AM
try to keep your lights fairly clean-w/o lots of dead earth tones, white will not be in the darks or you'll get mud. Learn to apint form-everything will come in time.

impressionist2
09-19-2002, 07:16 AM
"A formula like "white + raw sienna + mars red + cerulean" won't even begin to cover it. That sort of thing is about as useful advice as my "kinda orange", and wouldn't really be much more helpful if they included exact proportions, because you'll have to modify the color anyway. "


I haven't noticed anyone mentioning the red/green combination that works so well.

It's very hard to describe formulas for the previously mentioned reasons, but working with a complimentary palette in all mixes, tints and shades, solves a myriad of problems. It all takes repetition to become skilled at skintones.

A good book for a beginner, intermediate or advanced painter is Chris Saper's, "Painting Beautiful Skintones". Many portraits from now, skintones will begin to sink in.

Renee

cobalt fingers
09-19-2002, 12:47 PM
Delicate stuff like the red/green relationships in portraits is tricky. Try starting with the red/green relationship of an apple. It's good warm-up.

Mario
09-22-2002, 02:44 PM
"Portraits from Life" by John Howard Standen

This is the best book I've seen so far on portraiture in oils....get it now it will save you a lot of suffering and it is not expensive at all.
Good luck, paint everyday or night and come back with more questions....soon, you will be posting answers!

Scott Methvin
09-27-2002, 12:09 PM
Painting realistic flesh is one of the most difficult challenges in oil painting. Done well, it requires planning and an understanding of various complementary colors. Underpainting is traditional for the right effect.

Reubens is a master of flesh color. Get a good reproduction of almost any Reubens and study the flesh coloration. He's famous for fat chicks because their flesh is perfect.

Oh yeah, there are at least 10 kinds of "flesh". Pale redheads are the hardest, IMO.

kjoel
11-01-2002, 05:16 PM
I personally use an orangish color, mixed with quindicrone rose and azo yellow. adjusting the proportions as needed for the tones. I add a tiny bit of cerulian blue to the shadow areas...or just layer it with a deeper hue. for darker skin, I use a less transparent red (azilarin crimson). a good book on skin tones I have found is painting beautifull skintones with color and light by chris saper. has good formulas to create all basic skintones in oil, pastel, or watercolor.

brook
11-02-2002, 05:06 PM
I discovered a teriffic book on skin tones by Chris Saper. Hope that this helps...just go easy on adding your colors. One example is to start with the following colors;

Base:
Cadmium Scarlet
Cadmium Lemon
Titanium White
Phthalo Green

Cool light: add to the above mixture
Permanent Rose
Ultramarine Blue
Titanium White

For Warm Shadows add;
Cadmium scarlet
Alizarin Crimson

Warm Light add:
Permanent rose

Cool Shadows add:
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarine Crimson

This book has been a real help to me in creating skin tones so-o-o check it out!

Have fun,
Brook

ari70
11-05-2002, 02:51 PM
Hi,
I really liked your quetion, I myself have the same question.
I can make it more easier for others who said that it is may be too complicated to answer, and it needs alot of practice.
I attached a painting of William Whitaker and asking others to help in defining the light, dark, warm and cold areas of this painting.
I mean what type of color mixes used here

ari70
11-05-2002, 02:56 PM
You can visit the website:

www.williamwhitaker.com

Scott Methvin
11-07-2002, 11:09 AM
If you want to get the right color for flesh and have the patience to let layers dry a bit during the process, try this....

Do a careful value study of the flesh in green earth. It is an almost greenish-blue color. The deepest darks have the most blue. Let this dry at least until 3/4 dry to touch.

Make up 2 colors. One is pure vermillion (or cinnibar). This is an orangish red and very opaque. The other should be a mixture of lead white, vermillion and a hint of yellow. This is "flesh" color. It should be on the light side.

Scrub the vermillion into all the shadow areas with a small bright bristle brush. This is a scumble to make the right neutral. You'll be able to see the green underneath enough to see the value changes.

When this layer is dry enough, do an overall scumble with the "flesh" color. Thin.

Stand back and admire your work, then add highlights where appropriate.

This works for me. I think the right kind of paint is extremely important. Fine blending with a nice big sable brush helps as well.

Build up the lights and keep the darks thinner. The opacity of the vermillion helps here. the green earth has a gritty quality that makes it hard to use, but has a magical earthy effect-like raw umber does.

Get the vermillion from Kremer and the green earth from Old Holland. I add a touch of thalo blue and lead white to the green earth.

If anyone trys this, I will be glad to answer any questions you may have. I believe in keeping it simple without a pallette loaded with different colors. If you start out with good values (in your drawing and underpainting) the final color values will almost create themselves.

Under drawing can be in ink, chalk, charcoal or paint. The old-old masters used silverpoint. (Some of them) Pencil graphite will bleed through. The drawing is the guide to value painting in green earth.

captain bravo
11-07-2002, 11:15 AM
scott, thanks for the info...every little bit helps. i also was given an excellent source for the same thong. it's by one of WC's contributing editors, Robert Howard. it was called " setting a palette with the portrait colors." thanks again. captb

Scott Methvin
11-07-2002, 11:38 AM
Great.
Let me know how you like it, if you try it.

BTW, was that Robert(s) Howard? If so, he was kicked out of here for excessive honesty. His was the Scotish guy icon.

captain bravo
11-07-2002, 11:46 AM
scott,
i posted my first attempt at a face in "portraiture" scary, cuz i labored with that face for weeks. it's from a photo....captb

Scott Methvin
11-07-2002, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by captain bravo
scott,
i posted my first attempt at a face in "portraiture" scary, cuz i labored with that face for weeks. it's from a photo....captb

Hi Capt.,

I looked at your indian and your blacks and whites are way too instense. Try green instead and mix red into it. This makes a natural looking skin shadow color. It's a type of brown. Try adding a little blue to that to make your darkest darks.

My system is a system that is built up. That way you can control your progress easier and see where you want to go. To make a dark skinned indian, I would start out with a bluer underpainting color. Green blue, but heavier on the blue.

Whites of the eyes are rarely white. Usually a bluish tint is needed. Teeth are yellowish brown and rarely bright white. It's an illusion caused by dark surroundings.

Once you get all your values and shadow areas done, just keep adding more paint into the lights. Lead white allows for this. Titanium or zinc do not.

captain bravo
11-07-2002, 08:07 PM
thanks for the advice, melvin
i can't get hurt by it, cuz i was struggling with all the colors. once i painted that ear, i was done. it looks like a joke ear i wore as a kid....i'll try some of the medicine you prescribed...captb

gomez
05-28-2004, 08:32 PM
considerly i am the one who started this question so please help me. i have several formulas one being burnt sienna,raw sienna, and white the others i forgot forgive me sorry !

Richard Saylor
05-28-2004, 09:06 PM
This may be way beneath the dignity of you 'fine artists' :) , but here are a couple of examples of flesh tones using only the CMY primaries.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190267

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192137

WFMartin
05-29-2004, 12:33 AM
In case you're seeking some specifics, I'll tell you what colors are on my palette when I paint portraits:

French Ultramarine Blue
Pthalo Blue
Burnt Umber
Burnt Sienna
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red Light
Raw Sienna
Cadmium Orange
Yellow Ochre
Naples Yellow
Flake White

Base flesh color would be some mixture beginning with Cadmium Red Light; darken with the blues, Umber, Sienna, or Cad Red Deep.

Lighten with Flake white and Cadmium Orange, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, and Naples Yellow.

Flake white is useful in that it is rather transparent, and thus does not overpower the light areas with white.

Grumbacher's Cadmium Orange's main attribute is simply that it is not orange when mixed with white--its overtone is toward the red side. In other words, when mixed with Flake White, it becomes pink (not light orange). It is quite useful for light fleshtones, giving some really subtle transitions from Cad. Red Light, when adding white to create lighter areas of flesh.

Any blue is useful for shadowed areas, and I have often used nearly any blue on my palette when I discovered I forgot to lay out the one with which I had initially been working. Simply vary the amount, and perhaps add an extra touch of red or yellow when using a different blue. Cyan is cyan, and makes very little difference whether it comes in the form of a redder version such as in French Ultramarine Blue or more of a true cyan such as in Pthalo Blue. Simply add a little more or less of your chosen red to achieve the graying effect you desire in your fleshtone.

And, of course, the thing to keep in mind is that these colors get all mixed together in varying degrees. Hardly any ever get applied in their pure form. I may begin with a mix of Cad. Red Light and Flake White; then as I get closer to a shadow area, begin adding a bit of Burnt Sienna, and finally Burnt Umber, and eventually some Cad. Red Deep with a hint of French Ultramarine Blue.

When working toward a lighter area, I may begin with Cad. Red Light and Flake White, then begin lightening with some Cad. Orange, then some Naples Yellow, as I keep adding more Flake White.

I sometimes use a touch of Rose Madder or Alizarin Crimson for the lips. The least useful colors on this palette would be Raw Sienna and Yellow Ochre.

The most useful colors would be Cad. Red Light and Cad. Orange.

Well, I hope that gives you some idea of a palette for flesh tones. Experiment yourself, and perhaps you'll decide to use a form of green instead of a blue. That should work just fine, as it adds a bit of yellow in the mix, as well. And, of course, since I use multiple layers, each subsequent, thinly applied layer, optically melds and blends itself with the immediate underlayer in a wonderful fusion of colors. Quite simply put, the more layers, the smoother the effect becomes. I often have to force myself to quit when working on a portrait in this manner, because it is so extraordinarily satisfying to see it come together in this way, that it's indeed difficult to call an end to it all. ;)

Enjoy.

Bill :)

Mario
05-30-2004, 08:25 PM
Gee, a thread that spans 2yrs.. neat.

Some interesting suggestions on this thread..
I would like to recommend; the Artist's Magazine ... April 2003 for the article on Daniel Green's prepared portrait palette.. there is no more well-researched, revealing and impressive article on mixing flesh tones that I have ever seen nor, probably, ever will see.... check it out in a library or order a back issue while they last..

lisagloria
06-01-2004, 03:02 PM
The thing is, it doesn't really matter as long as the colors in the painting relate to each other, and relate somewhat to the model. For instance, you can't have the bacground lit with an incandescent light, and the figure with sunlight, and paint them truely and have them coordinate successfully. Also, you probably would like to have a certain amount of trueness to the color of the original model.

The exercize I went through when I was learning how to make a skin tone was this (and I'll note its limitations in a second):

Take all your yellow paints and put them in one pile, and all your red paints and put them in another. Make a grid of 2 inch squares on a large sheet of watercolor paper (preferably gessoed). Get a blob of white (flake or titanium, whatevah.) At the top, list all your yellows, one to a column. On one side, list all your reds, one to a row. Now mix em up. Each square corresponds to a combination of 1 yellow + 1 red. Throw in some white to show it at its purest, to its lightest.

Each yellow + red + white is a flesh tone. Look some more, and you'll want to know each combination, with more or less of the yellow or the red. Now add burnt umber, raw umber, cerulean, viridian, or black to lower the chroma, now add white again ....

Daniel Green's palette and Chris Saper's book, and Sanden's book are all starting points but the fact is, the recipes they offer are only suggestions - there is no substitute for understanding your palette, the colors the model presents to you, and the translucent payers you're going to need to approximate the feeling you want to convey. Each author will get you closer so try them all (I did!), and also try to mimic the palette of Velasquez, Whittaker, Tim Tyler, Bouguereau, Waterhouse, Gainsborough and everybody else. When you've memorized those colors, you'll know what another artist used to achieve their own work, and you know how to approach your particular model.

I know it sounds snooty, but I don't think there's another way to learn color than by doing it often, and learning to fail, fail, fail!!! I would take 2 years of failures if that meant significant and lasting improvement, over a book and a gob of "Flesh Shadow 3."

Lisa
www.lisagloria.com

Richard Budig
06-03-2004, 05:21 PM
One place to start, especially if you're new at this, is the very limited palette consisting of a red, a yellow, a black and a white.

Try venetian red, yellow ocher, ivory black and white.

Many of the "old masters" used nothing more than these.

You won't get all those colors you hear/read about, but you'll get a lot of experience, and not having 12 or 15 colors to fret about will make the going easier and more educational. Later, when you begin to "get it," you can start adding all sorts of reds (aliz, indian, vermillion), yellows (ocher, cad, naples), and blue (ultramarine, cobalt, pthalo).

And just in case you're really new a this: Use yellow ocher and black to make a green. Green and red make browns. Yellow and red make orange. Red and a small tot of black make a violet of sorts. You will be surprised at how many colors you can make from these four items on your palette.

van^
07-26-2004, 02:20 PM
How can you all have these recipes and mixtures? I never know what color to use until I actually look at the subject.

WFMartin
07-27-2004, 01:21 AM
How can you all have these recipes and mixtures? I never know what color to use until I actually look at the subject.

Van, You are correct of course. But, most of us seem to be assuming that the subject will be Caucasian in color, illuminated with a reasonably "normal" light. Of course, other factors come into play, but most of the suggestions here seem to be aimed at generalities based upon those assumptions. :)

I guess what I'm saying is that if someone told me I'd be required to paint a portrait, and that I absolutely HAD to lay out my palette before I viewed the subject or the reference photo, I believe that I'd stick with the palette that I mentioned earlier. I think I could pretty well guarantee that I'd be able to mix whatever flesh color necessary with that palette.

Bill

van^
07-27-2004, 09:28 AM
I guess what I'm saying is that if someone told me I'd be required to paint a portrait, and that I absolutely HAD to lay out my palette before I viewed the subject or the reference photo, I believe that I'd stick with the palette that I mentioned earlier. I think I could pretty well guarantee that I'd be able to mix whatever flesh color necessary with that palette.

Bill

Thank you, Bill. :) Honestly, I was beginning to get a little confused by this conversation, but now I can see the value (no pun intended) of knowing beforehand which colors make a *general* palette for skin tones.

bagwash
07-27-2004, 09:33 PM
Hey Captain Bravo,

I know this is almost heretical, but my suggestion is to avoid cad yellow entirely in painting flesh. It's way too bright--right on the outer edge of the color wheel--and always has a cold or artificial look to it, to my eye, even in the warmer varieties. Also, titanium white, with its bluish tones, is not as good as a lead white, or at least a mix of lead with a smaller amount of titanium and perhaps zinc, if you like, as well. OR try lead and zinc without titanium --"flake white" being a simple 50/50 mix--the zinc helps stop the lead from yellowing too much. I find this a nice white to work with.

Lead white is creamier/warmer. Titanium, being bluish, when mixed with the cad yellows with their greeny, artificial character, produces an overall rather unnatural, dirty and cold flesh color. Having once or twice been an onlooker during surgical operations (I'm a nurse), and seen human fat (which presumably is what gives flesh it's yellowish tone) I can assure you it's not cadmuim yellow in color at all!

I'd go with the suggestions of Richard Budig, if I were you. 4 simple warmish colors are a lot easier to handle than a multitude. If you want a more transparent addition to the venetian red, add some burnt sienna. If you find the black too strong, try a mix of burnt sienna or ven. red with a blue like cobalt or ultramarine (I prefer cobalt as it's weaker and easier to handle), Or try b.s. with viridian, as recommended by Linda Ciallelo in her post on a WIP over on the oil painting forum) for your darks.

All in all you'll get more natural, cleaner and warmer, (and not at all lurid) flesh tones this way.

BTW the subject of flesh colors is also being discussed specifically on its own thread over on the oil painting forum, in case you dont know.

Jenny

karenlee
07-29-2004, 01:16 PM
John Howard Sanden gives an excellent method of painting flesh tones; another one is the art of portrait painting by Frank Covino ( 1972)- a must have for portrait work! anyone else out there have this one?

RaphaelArt
08-07-2004, 11:36 AM
Aside from mixing the right flesh tone, I would like to know more about how they are layered. What is painted first and why.
Thanks.

RaphaelArt
08-07-2004, 01:45 PM
I wanted to be more specific.

What I am trying to understand is how colors are mixed out for flesh, draperies, etc. using the 2 color layer system of Perugino and Raphael.

Unlike Da Vinci, which used umbers and browns to start the darkening and neutralizing in the shadow, Raphael used colors to neutralize colors. In his early work he was using a different system that the later work.

Flesh is thinly painted in The Garvagh Madonna at the National Gallery ... using thin glazes. No verdaccio or brown modeling was used. So what layering/color mixture did he use to paint the shadows.

Was gray added to colors in the initial stages, or were colors painted in high intensity and then glazed with neutralizing colors...

Thanks.

bagwash
08-08-2004, 09:22 AM
I wanted to be more specific.

What I am trying to understand is how colors are mixed out for flesh, draperies, etc. using the 2 color layer system of Perugino and Raphael.

Unlike Da Vinci, which used umbers and browns to start the darkening and neutralizing in the shadow, Raphael used colors to neutralize colors. In his early work he was using a different system that the later work.

Flesh is thinly painted in The Garvagh Madonna at the National Gallery ... using thin glazes. No verdaccio or brown modeling was used. So what layering/color mixture did he use to paint the shadows.

Was gray added to colors in the initial stages, or were colors painted in high intensity and then glazed with neutralizing colors...

Thanks.

This is a good question, RaphaelArt. I'll be interested to read any information anyone out there can come up with. Raphael was a great colorist. Wish I could help.

Jenny

Ogerich
08-08-2004, 01:12 PM
The colour of skin depends on the colours you use around skin. My opinion is that you should be very carefully while painting the shadows. Begin not too dark (sa it often happens)you have time enough to get darker and darker but you cannot paint the light it must come from the underpainting. I use a fleshy tone for the underpainting then i bring the "real" colour and whash it away by terpentine (like velasquez did). in the end of the painting put some lights on it and - voila - there is it, the shiny flesh tone.

I just painted a black coloured old man with the following colours:
mars brown (blockx), sepia (rembrandt), brillant gel (old holland).
Shadows: cobalt blue (blockx) and chromium oxide (rembrandt)
Lights: Brillant geel, chremnitz white (old holland)

For white skin its a good idea to begin with a mixture of Chremnitz white, brillant geel and vermillon (just a tip; rembrandt)

But allwys remember: it depends on the colours around the skin.

greenhoop
08-09-2004, 04:23 AM
Just about to try and paint using oils for the first time.Got all my paints ,brushes and canvases for my birthday! Found all these threads really helpful especially lisa's article about trying out your skin tones colors.

chsm
08-15-2004, 03:49 PM
One place to start, especially if you're new at this, is the very limited palette consisting of a red, a yellow, a black and a white.

Try venetian red, yellow ocher, ivory black and white.

Many of the "old masters" used nothing more than these.

You won't get all those colors you hear/read about, but you'll get a lot of experience, and not having 12 or 15 colors to fret about will make the going easier and more educational. Later, when you begin to "get it," you can start adding all sorts of reds (aliz, indian, vermillion), yellows (ocher, cad, naples), and blue (ultramarine, cobalt, pthalo).

And just in case you're really new a this: Use yellow ocher and black to make a green. Green and red make browns. Yellow and red make orange. Red and a small tot of black make a violet of sorts. You will be surprised at how many colors you can make from these four items on your palette.
v.g points and instructiion here, thx!

Canis Lupess
08-25-2004, 11:18 AM
for actual skin tone, say for a pale skinned person, I use plenty of white and a touch of red and yellow ochre. Those make a great skin tone but you can add more red and some brown to that to make darker skin tones. Native Americans do tend to have a more reddisn brown tone to their skin. Just remember that skin reflects light too so there may be other colours you need to introduce to that as well. Say if the person is sitting next to a bright yellow object on a sunny day, some of their skin maybe reflecting yellow light coming from that object.
Also, even where there are no other colours affecting the skin, these tones will vary according to where abouts on the body it is and also whether it is highlighted or in shadow.

bagwash
08-25-2004, 07:11 PM
I agree with Canis Lupess--red ochre is a good flesh color. WN now has a nice transparent red ochre, which has quite a light tone. Haven't compared it to my Old Holland red ochre, but it looks lighter/brighter. I recently tried some venetian red with flake white and yellow ochre--but would recommend against it. The VR is too bluish a red, and produces rather sickly and livid flesh colors. Also tried out Enion's idea of using cerulean blue to tone down flesh tones and found it worked very well.


Jenny :cool:

CaishaRose
09-09-2004, 11:04 AM
I recently completed a self-portrait using the color palette Rembrandt supposedly used:

Yellow Ochre
A Reddish Brown (I used a conjunction of Burnt Sienna and Venetian Red)
Raw Umber
Black (I used Ivory Black and Lamp Black)
White (I used Titanium White and Unbleached Titanium)

I found that those colors are a great palette for mixing skin tones. Since I'm incredibly fair-skinned, I had to use a lot of white. I also used a few other colors for a little more variety since no one has a flat skin tone, especially when shadow is involved:

Naples Yellow
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Vermillion
Magenta
Raw Sienna
Terre Verte
Prussian Blue

I also did my underpainting in Terre Verte mixed with a little Titanium. (I heard Michalangelo used green as an imprimatura when he did flesh tones.) It gives the skin that luminous human glow.

Bud Ralls
09-09-2004, 02:41 PM
Hoping to post pics. soon. My view on a flesh palette, so let' s say i lay out my flesh tones 10am. for my model i have found out that say 1pm. i will have to change something on my palette because of the lighting in my studio, the windows, skylights so on what i thinki am saying i don't think you can give a set flesh format to anyone and say here it is, complexion on each person is different, general character or appearance change hope this makes some sense.
Bud

jdadson
09-17-2004, 09:00 PM

sundiver
09-18-2004, 12:02 AM
I'm not necessarily advocating it , don't do portraits much, but here is the formula they gave us in art school looong ago, for fleshtones in oils:

cadmium red, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and white, with a green underpainting.

It worked ok as a starting mix.

karenlee
09-21-2004, 01:13 PM
I agree that skin tones are difficult. John Howard Sanden's books are excellent because he tells you what colors to use and shows the mixtures. I highly recommend his books.
I started with white, yellow ochre, and cadmium red light. I branched off to many variations. I find colors labelled PR 101, a natural iron oxide pigment, are very useful-- these include a whole range of ruddy reds including Indian Red, Venetian Red, Pozzouli Earth, transparent red oxide, and more. Scarlet Lake is another red that is useful in skin mixtures. Eventually you will try every kind of red with every kind of yellow and white and still wonder where it's at. Then you start to add a blue, a green or a grey to modify the color. This is truly an endless subject!

jdadson
09-24-2004, 07:58 PM
I agree that skin tones are difficult. John Howard Sanden's books are excellent because he tells you what colors to use and shows the mixtures. I highly recommend his books.

Twenty-four colors in all isn't it? Twelve (?) of them are mixtures that you buy in a special set.

I'm only a beginner, but I was very disappointed by the "29 steps" book. I got it by mail-order, so I did not know what to expect.

It is hard for me to muster the time and effort to learn his techniques, given that I would be completely dissatisfied if my results were the same as his! His paintings look cartoonish to me. They look like illustrations from Readers' Digest (which they often were). They look like the backgrounds were put in as an afterthought (which they are).

To follow his procedure, I would have to go against a lot of advice from people whose work I like much better.

Einion
09-25-2004, 11:18 AM
They look like the backgrounds were put in as an afterthought (which they are).
Far from it. You need to look at more of his formal portraits; often as much work goes into consideration of the setting as the figure itself.

His paintings look cartoonish to me.
Hehe, well opinions vary. You don't get to be one of the most respected and highest-paid portrait painters in the US by doing cartoony work :)

To follow his procedure, I would have to go against a lot of advice from people whose work I like much better.
His method is not for everyone (whose is?) but they can be used to create consistent, polished results with practice and dedication. The main problem as I see it is that one needs to be able to draw with a paintbrush as well as he, which is beyond the bulk of people who aspire to portraiture.

Einion

jdadson
09-27-2004, 06:11 PM
Far from it. You need to look at more of his formal portraits; often as much work goes into consideration of the setting as the figure itself.


Hehe, well opinions vary. You don't get to be one of the most respected and highest-paid portrait painters in the US by doing cartoony work :)



I could argue with both of those statements - both about the look of his formal portraits and about notoriety and commercial success as sure indications of quality. But I didn't mean to turn this thread into a debate on his work. I just wanted to express a differing opinion, which I have done.

As a relative beginner, the books that I have found most helpful were _Oil Painting Secrets from a Master_ by Linda Cateura, and _Brushwork Essentials_ by Mark Christop Weber. The former has some instruction on colors for portrait painting, along with more general advice. The book describes techniques used by David A. Laffel. David himself has reservations about the book, but I have found it very useful. A newer book written by David covers some of the same topics, and is also instructive.

By the way, I have very recently experimented with using tubed "flesh" color, although I haven't used several shades of it, as Mr. Stanton does. David Laffel recommends mixing a puddle of flesh color and a puddle of cool color for starters. So I was interested in seeing how useful the tubed color was for mixing a "puddle o' pink". I took a piece of "canvas" paper and made a grid of spots, each spot was made from the flesh color mixed with another color, and lightened progressively with white at one edge. Using that grid, I formed a plan for a portrait. I am almost finished with it. I left my digital camera at home. Perhaps tomorrow I will post a picture.

The sitter is a 60 year old man. His general complexion is yellowish, but the nose, the sides of the forehead, and his chin are quite ruddy. The scheme I used was as follows:

Brightest lights: Naples Yellow with a small touch of flesh + white
Mid tones: Naples Yellow, flesh + white
"Rud": flesh + transparent red oxide
cool midtones: flesh + terre verte
warm shadows: transparent red oxide + ivory black
cool shadows: mid tone + background color (at present, cobalt blue + gray)

As I said, it is working out rather well I think. Alas, I have issues to deal with in the shirt and the background. Nothing insurmountable, one hopes.