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Old 09-22-2017, 01:47 PM
mandalaToronto mandalaToronto is offline
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Two Very Black People

These 2 photos are of two very black people. The first is of a woman against a window. Pan Pastels on watercolour paper.
The 2nd photo is of a young black man. Pan Pastels on Canson MiTientes.
I think black people have wonderful skin tones, from light brown to very very blue black. I was inspired by the movie: Twelve years a slave and from the book: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. It was a challenge to paint these. In the actual art work the man is much darker than you see on the screen.
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:56 PM
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Re: Two Very Black People

I am not a portrait painter, so I am not an expert on skin tones. That said, I can sense the lovely dark tones in these paintings. You can cross post this in Portraits if you want, for further comment. Just use your title and add XP Pastels. There is a wonderful portrait artist, Cuong Nguyen. He has ebooks you can purchase very reasonably that explain the different skin tones. That link is Cuong Nguyen. Here is a link to a YouTube video on dark skin tones. YouTube I like that you have found inspirations in movies and books.
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Old 09-23-2017, 09:28 AM
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Re: Two Very Black People

Wow, I commend you for tackling a very difficult subject! You are right, those skin tones are a challenge and they are all affected by the lighting and the backgrounds as well as individual differences. I wonder if you would like to keep going with this subject and try different shades of paper to see how the skin tones would be affected? Sometimes it's hard to get very dark tones when the lightness of the paper keeps showing through. You did nice work on these and it's obvious that you are training your eyes to see those very subtle variations in color.
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:32 PM
mandalaToronto mandalaToronto is offline
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Re: Two Very Black People

Thanks WaterGirl and Donna. Your comments are appreciated. I will definately check out the link to Cuong Nguyen.
mandalaToronto
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:05 PM
Grinner Grinner is offline
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Re: Two Very Black People

I would like to take a moment to respectfully disagree with the notion that painting someone with dark skin is "tackling a very difficult subject."

The only things that might make it more "difficult" than any other skin tone are 1) lack of exposure and observation of different skin tones, where white skin becomes the default for portraiture by any artist while dark skin is the deviation, only rarely attempted, and 2) the lack of good brown tones in pastel portrait sets, as most appear to have been designed to for painting only portraits of white people.

In any case, observation and practice will make any artist better at painting any skin tone, and we would all do well to get to know what works well in rendering light, medium, and dark skin. All have their challenges, as well as their beauty.

In short, if you only ever painted dark skin and then tried light skin once, you might be posting about the inherent difficulty of painting light skin. Perhaps it is not the skin, it is the artist's experience and exposure to the subject. Let's try not to set any particular complexions apart as more difficult, by nature, than any other.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:12 PM
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Re: Two Very Black People

Grinner, I think Donna was referring to skin tones in general, as being difficult. I'm not much of a portrait painter myself and find any skin tone a challenge. I have to agree that painting any skin tones on very light colored paper may be hindering the effort to get things just right. I tend to work on a medium gray or medium toned sand color when I paint. The few portraits I have tried to paint have been on the medium gray.
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Last edited by water girl : 09-28-2017 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:06 PM
Grinner Grinner is offline
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Re: Two Very Black People

Quote:
Originally Posted by water girl
Grinner, I think Donna was referring to skin tones in general, as being difficult.


No, she very clearly wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna T
Wow, I commend you for tackling a very difficult subject! You are right, those skin tones are a challenge
as opposed to "skin tones" in general being a challenge.

All skin tones are, of course a challenge, not "those skin tones" any more than any others. Exceptions would be, as I mentioned, if you are limited by either A) how much you have observed and painted a true variety of skin tones, or B) the range of your pastels. Both can be addressed. Pastel range: improvise! Exposure: anyone can paint from photos in magazines or online, so everyone should have access to faces of all colors, shapes, and sizes more than ever in our history. There is no reason why any portrait artist should not be actively practicing how to paint anyone from anywhere, and becoming more comfortable with the skin tones that are currently the least familiar.

Happy painting
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:07 AM
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Re: Two Very Black People

As a moderator, I would like to point out the that highlighting certain words affects their meaning....and does NOT help the discussion on line, as we all know that the tone of writing things down can be taken to mean quite the opposite of what the writer had intended. So no more discussion of what the writer has clearly qualified already please.


To get back to the thread's original intention... I quite agree that darker tones are more difficult to define as, especially in a photo, it very much depends on the lighting as to how much detail you can see. And I say that as one who has attempted portraits of every shade of skin, and also in animal portraiture, every shade of fur. It is actually easier to see the differences in real life as our eyes see many more variations than the camera can...
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Old 09-30-2017, 01:26 PM
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Re: Two Very Black People

It all depends how an artist uses colour. I have seen very beatiful portraits of African people, where the form is neither deformed or emphasised to show the ethnicity. for instance see some portraits by Mary Qian.

http://maryqian.com/portraits/

or Helena Hugo: http://www.helenahugo.com/Portfolio/...s/Pastels.html

Charles

Last edited by Charles Perera : 09-30-2017 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 09-30-2017, 06:05 PM
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Re: Two Very Black People

Two great artists Charles, thanks for sharing the links.
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Old 09-30-2017, 06:15 PM
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Re: Two Very Black People

Quote:
Originally Posted by mandalaToronto
These 2 photos are of two very black people. The first is of a woman against a window. Pan Pastels on watercolour paper.
The 2nd photo is of a young black man. Pan Pastels on Canson MiTientes.
I think black people have wonderful skin tones, from light brown to very very blue black. I was inspired by the movie: Twelve years a slave and from the book: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. It was a challenge to paint these. In the actual art work the man is much darker than you see on the screen.
C&C welcome.

Did you use water or alcohol to paint the pastel in places...? Could be why the colour appears diluted. Often the underpainting is done like that, but I've not seen it often as the final finish... using pastel as the final coat may achieve the depth of tone needed. Hope that helps
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Regards, Deirdre (Always pleased to get C&Cs!)[b] Don't forget - comment on other threads in the forum as well as posting your own work - also, we encourage you to post WIPs, they help others to learn as well as you.
Moderator Pastels Getting started in Soft Pastels Uploading Images
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:23 PM
Grinner Grinner is offline
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Re: Two Very Black People

*

As for the challenge of seeing dark skin properly on film, yes, that is definitely an issue that has been well-documented. Observing from life, or from well-lit photos, resolves that issue and offers many opportunities to make the attempt.

*Portion of post removed re Useragreement. copy kept.

Last edited by *Deirdre* : 10-01-2017 at 08:28 AM. Reason: challenging a moderator's decision
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Old 10-03-2017, 03:37 PM
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Re: Two Very Black People

I wonder the following would interest some one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTvuH25K17s

Charles
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Old 10-04-2017, 03:13 PM
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Re: Two Very Black People

Thank you, Charles. A basics video is always helpful.
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