Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Basic Flesh-Tone Palette

New flesh-tone color chart - top
Page from painting journal with notes on flesh tones - center
Pages from painting journal with recent flesh-tone mixtures - bottom
The January issue of The Artist's magazine featured artist Michael De Brito's paintings and the four-color, flesh-tone palette he uses to render his figures. I read with interest and decided to give the colors a test run. The economy of using just four colors seems to break down the process of mixing flesh tones into a basic formula. Since most artists (including myself) struggle to depict accurate flesh tones, I thought De Brito's palette was a refreshing break from all the complicated mixtures I've tried in the past.

Which basically gives me a pretty wide range of colors. Pinks, oranges and dusky flesh tones in both warm and cool variations can be mixed from Flake White mixed with Naples Yellow, Vermillion and Ivory Black. For those elusive cool green tones, a mixture of Naples Yellow and Ivory Black renders a muddy green, the addition of Vermillion warms. For darkest darks Vermillion plus black gives a warm or cool dark, depending on how much black is used.

The bottom two images show the pages from my painting journal, detailing additional mixtures from the same palette, along with notes on their use in recent paintings.

So far I've used this flesh palette in two paintings I'm working on: Blue Angel and Daydream Believer, both are detailed on my Fan page. I'm happy with the results! I think I'll stick with this palette into the New Year!

1 comment:

Celeste Bergin said...

Hey Marie, I just found this blog..your Technique" blog..what a good idea to separate this out of your other blog. You've given us a very great run down of flesh here--something that I have been thinking about lately..I will come back and "digest" it. No wonder your figures are so nice--you work hard to achieve that luminosity.