SF Oils

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Comment by Stuart J. Gourlay on April 15, 2013 at 1:59

Catherine, this is chapter 3.  I looked at two manufacturers' flesh color paint tubes for the colors in them.  First Gamblin use PW6 (titanium white), PY43 (yellow ochre) and PR108 (cad red dark) to make their "caucasian flesh" color and Winsor-Newton uses PW4 (zinc white), PY42 (yellow oxide) and PV19 (quinacridone red) to make their "flesh tint".  The names in parentheses are those colors having that pigment from Golden Open Acrylics.  So the easiest way to make a flesh tone to start with for you would be to use your tube white and add a desaturated yellow (yellow ochre or yellow oxide), and a cool red (cad red dark or quinacridone red) to it until you get it the right hue and value of skin in sunlight.  Then just modify it accordingly.  To help with this since skin is a warm color, in warm light (direct sunlight) it will be lighter but will stay saturated, and in shadow it will be darker and grayer.  So take your basic skin tone and for the direct sunlit areas, add you sun color (white plus warm yellow) and in your shaded areas, add your sky color (white plus ultramarine blue) and it should work.  I hope this is not too confusing.   Stu

Comment by Stuart J. Gourlay on April 14, 2013 at 3:26

Catherine, I looked at Golden's color selection in their open acrylics and they don't have a tube color for flesh.  I would make up my own with either burnt sienna or transparent earth red, titanium white and add permanent rose or other red, some ultramarine blue, and a warm yellow (Indian yellow or cad yellow) until I got the color of my own flesh in warm light; or you could just take your son outdoors and mix on your palette until you get a basic color to start from.  You can then modify this.  Here is the link for the video download from Chris Saper that I was thinking of : http://www.northlightshop.com/how-to-paint-skin-tones-in-oil-with-c....  She uses a lot of colors you may not have but explains the warm and cool colors and how to mix and compare skin colors to the person being painted both in shadow or light; and the download is only $20.  I am not much of a portrait painter and always struggle a little with this when I paint people.   Post your painting in the gallery when you finish it.   Stu

Comment by Stuart J. Gourlay on April 13, 2013 at 14:24

Catherine, there are a bunch of different formulas for skin tones that artists use, especially portrait artists.  Basically most caucasian skin is a very desaturated red-orange hue so using burnt sienna with perhaps a little red (permanent rose or alizarin crimson) added and mixed with titanium white will get you the basic color.  In bright sunlight you will add your sunlight color (titanium white with a warm yellow like cad yellow medium, indian yellow or even naples yellow) to lighten your highlights.  In the shaded skin you would add your sky color (blue) to get the right colors.  In your shadows you might want to pop in some of the colors in your water (blue-greens, blues, and greens).  For your reflected light, the color of his boogie board or the sand would be added in.  Michael Severin has a nice blog on adding your sunlight and sky colors in.  I am having the same problem with getting the skin color right on a painting of three of my grandchildren eating ice cream cones.  There are some excellent books and DVDs from an Arizona artist names Chris Saper on skin tones and color mixing.   They are available through North Light Shop.  I have one of her books and several of her videos and refer to them regularly.   It is really hard, especially when it is family, to get everything just right.  If you are using Golden's open acrylics you should have no trouble mixing in some colors to make it work.  I don't know if Golden has it in their line, but a lot of the paint manufacturers make a "flesh" or "caucasian flesh" tube color that you can start with.  I usually start with this in my oils.  Also, what you might want to do is find a photo of someone with the same skin coloration as his or even find a friend with the same coloration and mix the color until you get it right out in the sunlight (I am assuming that Spring is there with some sunny days in BC).  Let me know if you need some more help, and if you want to attach a photo of what you have now to your reply, I will be happy to take a look at it.    Stu

Comment by Catherine Spencer on April 13, 2013 at 6:58
Hey Stuart ... Since you are so very talented i thought i might direct this question at you ... Im painting a picture of my son at the beach (a 16 yr old blond haired, brown eyed, olive complexion handsome boy ) on his boogie board. I've got the water looking good and the reflections, and even his figure, but the skin that is showing -mainly his outstretched arms and his legs and feet- i cant seems to get the color right. The photo I'm working from isnt clear and i can't seem to make out the exact skin tone .. can you give me some direction? Im using open acrylics (golden interactive acrylics) if that matters.
Comment by Stuart J. Gourlay on October 22, 2011 at 4:29
A little more color than my usual landscapes with some people.  This is right outside the Asian Art Museum at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco, CA.  From photos taken on a nice sunny morning.  The signs and clothing colors caught my eye.


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