- top - actual mixtures on my palette
- second & third - flesh mixture practice from my painting journal
- fourth - Verdaccio mixture notes at top, initial flesh mixture practice at bottom
Practicing these flesh mixtures was the result of me not liking the flesh mixtures I used in my first portrait of 2009 - Klimt Scarf.
Flesh palette (all are Winsor & Newton oil paints):
- Titanium White - TW
- Cadmium Yellow Light - CYL
- Cadmium Yellow Deep - CYD
- Cadmium Red - CR
- Terra Rosa - TR
- Alizarin Crimson - AC
- Burnt Sienna - BS
- Cobalt Blue - CB
- Ultramarine Blue - UB
- Viridian - V
- Yellow mixture - mix CYL + CYD to get a 'taxi-cab' yellow. Lighten this mixture with TW.
- Purple mixture - mix UB + AC to get a 'rosy purple'.
- Brown mixture - mix 'rosy purple' with 'taxi cab yellow' to get a 'baby-shit green.' That's what Gage Mace calls it! To this mixture add TR to get a 'brownish earth' color. Lighten this mixture with TW. This is the 'basic flesh tone'.
- Red mixtures - mix one pile of TR + TW to get a 'dusty rose.' Mix one pile of TW + CR to get a 'rosy pink.' Add either of these reds to warm the 'basic flesh tone.'
- Blue mixture - mix one pile of TW + CB to get an 'ice blue.' Mix any warmed 'basic flesh tone' with small amounts of blue mixture to make grayed flesh tones (for shadows).
- Green mixture - mix V + BS to get a 'sap green'. Lighten this mixture with TW. Mix any warmed 'basic flesh' tone with small amounts of green mixture to make a grayed flesh tone (for shadows).
I have to admit, these steps are tricky, and I had to practice (and stilll am), but I think these are the best flesh tones I have used in my painting career. The colors aren't muddy, even though in some cases I am mixing up to five colors, plus white.
I applied my flesh colors over a dried Verdaccio. Here are some Verdaccio steps from a different painting. And I used the medium Neo-Megilp, which keeps the paint workable for a while, and lets me vary the transparency.
In case you are wondering how I kept track of all this, here are my notes on keeping a painting journal. I couldn't paint without it! I still look back at my notes from several years ago, to see how I mixed something, or to compare whether I'm making any progress!