Sunday, February 15, 2009

Flesh Mixtures for Poseidon

Flesh mixtures and notes for the painting Poseidon
  • 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
  • fifth - flesh palette diagram from Gage Mace portrait painting workshop I took at the Hipbone Studio last August

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

Basic mixes:

  • 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'.

Secondary mixes:

  • 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!

~Happy painting!

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