Art: Oils - changing skin color?
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Thread: Oils - changing skin color?

  1. #1
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    Oils - changing skin color?

    Hi guys,
    hope this hasen't been asked before...
    I am working on a self portrait which I am really starting to like.
    Only thing that bothers me is that the skin color turned out to dark and to brownish/saturated. I am working in Oils.
    Here is my question, is there an easy way to change the whole skin color before I proceed? or do i have to repaint the whole skin area? is it possible to use a glaze to brighten it up and make it more fleshy or is glazing only usefull for colorin grey scale images?
    I look like ove been toasted which i wasnt going for^^
    I was aiming for more like a natural feel or mybe a bit more greyish/pale looking but screwed up totally

    thanks

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    Portraits in oils tend to be tricky at times due especially if done without enough natural light to work under. Changing light conditions and glare from the paint can deceive your color perception. So of course the first question would be before you continue; "do you have adequate sunlight to make proper color judgments?"

    When you spoke of glazing if you referred to utilizing this method to paint over dry paint, the answer is yes. It will actually build much more character and depth into you painting as well. Glazing is the classic method of painting portraits with oils which would generally start with an imprimatura or grisaille layer with the colors of umber , veridian, or varied values of ivory black and yellow ochre which when mixed turns a greenish tint.

    If your color appears brown but is darker than you prefer, try reducing your tones gradually with raw seinna and white. Then work in the lighter tones with ocher and white tints. Highlight sparingly with cad. yellow and white. You will produce more grays over your browns by adding blue.

    Throughout be certain to remain conscious of the "fat over lean" rule.



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  4. #3
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    You can alter the colors with glazes, yes- but to change the value a scumble( I think thats the word) is preferred. Basically all that is is a very thin layer of opaque oil paint over a layer as opposed to a transparent one ( glaze).

    "A drawing is not necessarily academic because it is thorough, but only because it is dead. Neither is a drawing necessarily academic because it is done in what is called a conventional style, any more than it is good because it is done in an unconventional style. The test is whether it has life and conveys genuine feeling."- Harold Speed
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    thanks both of you!
    I would say that my light conditions are ok, north side window, but i can only paint in the afternoons since i work most of the day. but its ok, need to rely on artificial light most of the times though.
    but i got so frustrated with the colors that I just painted over the whole skin again and im pretty satisfied with it right now, still need to add details bu i start to like it so far.
    i still really appreciate your comments and i will try both methods, glazing and scumbling on my next pieces!
    one thing that speaks again glazing (for me at least) is that the layers underneath have to be dry. i must say i am never patient enough

    thanks a bunch!

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    You can't work on he same painting using two different light sources! You must paint at the same time each day and under the same conditions. Daylight is cool. electric light is warm. Iit sounds as if this may be the heart of the problem. Start again. You could even do two painting, one by day light and the other by electric light. Try to see spots of color coming together, and try to exact match the colors you actually see- without preconceptions.

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    thanks for the input man but im painting this one from a photo so the colros remain the same.
    but i get your point

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    Well actually they wont. There are many problems to be had doing a painting from daylight to night time when your artificial lights have to replace natural sun light. Just because the photo doesn't "change" like a model does doesn't mean that the colors won't. As the temperature and brightness of light changes, so will how your eyes perceive the photo. If you work on it in the day- itll look wrong at night, and if you work on it by night itll look wrong by day. Now if by some chance you are a color mixing god and somehow manage to get exactly the right colors then you're painting will change in the same ways as the photo but I don't think anybody is that good.

    "A drawing is not necessarily academic because it is thorough, but only because it is dead. Neither is a drawing necessarily academic because it is done in what is called a conventional style, any more than it is good because it is done in an unconventional style. The test is whether it has life and conveys genuine feeling."- Harold Speed
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    This is stuff i have learned in school so far. Keep in mind that i have only been painting for a year...It would be easier to post something more specific if you showed the painting. what pigments do you use?

    I'd say don't rely on glazing, mostly because i think you will learn more about colour mixing by painting directly. If all your colour values are bad, or if you don't like the general colour scheme, scrape it down, oil it out and start to re-key the values. In terms of colour, mass and values, think big to small. I usually prefer to paint wet into wet, so if i have to rework an area, i usually scumble over a badly painted area with a single, general half tone and begin to "sculpt" in the lights and darks ranging from light&dark half tones, dark shadows and high lights. It's cruicial that every value i lay down is keyed correctly. I want both the light and shadow to be as colourful as possible. If the Highest light is too white or "chalky", i try to key the shadows and the halftones (in certain areas) darker. It's essential to get the values keyed correctly from the very beginnig.

    Why not paint this from life? The learnig experience will be harsher but also alot more rewarding.

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