Saturday, November 04, 2006
Still working on planning a painting of people on a beach, when I realized I'd NEVER successfully painted skin with watercolor. So, I found this photo of a boy in the sun and gave it a try. Sadly, this is the best I've ever done with skin tones (the improvement is good -- but where I'm still at is NOT!) Portraits themselves are not the problem -- it is rendering the smooth transitions and varieties of colors in skin that has me stumped.
I tend to dislike being a formula paint-mixer, but if anyone has suggestions for good skin tone mixes, please share! Meanwhile I'll keep working at it.
What I used -- base was a thiiiin mix of raw sienna, cad red, and a little cobalt. Then thin glazes of burnt sienna, some cad red, some cobalt, a quick streak or two of viridian and cerulean (not mixed), a little new gamboge or winsor yellow (can't remember which) to lighten it up in the sunny spots, I think a little indian red, and maybe even some winsor violet in some of the really dark darks. I did it all on 300# hot pressed Arches paper -- expensive paper to be practicing on, but it is what I THINK I'm going to be using. I started out soaking the paper for a LONG time per my WC teacher's instructions, since the very saturated paper helps the colors mingle better.
I'm not looking for critiques of the portrait itself (yep, there are flaws in the upper lip -- big time!) or the background (just a quickie to get it finished) -- I'm looking for ways to make that skin look really sun struck, with a nice deep summer glow in the shadows, and bright highlights, yet still smooth. Maybe I'm looking for too much! :-D PLEASE -- you wonderful portrait painters out there -- share your secrets!