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  1. #1
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    Whitaker flesh painting


    I’ve been asked how I get my flesh tones – more specifically, Northern European flesh tone. It is mostly a factor of getting some early vital training, working for decades in natural light and from life, and of course endless practice. However, over the past month I’ve been amusing myself by trying to work out a simple basic formula that might help some of you. Today I did a little experimental oil painting and took photos.

    My demonstration panel is a piece of 6x8 inch ABS plastic material. I carefully sanded the shiny surface off, then toned it with a little Mars Black thinned with odorless mineral spirit and alkyd resin. I let these panels dry as long as possible.

    ABS is far superior to hardboard with acrylic gesso, and if the painting doesn’t work out, I can simply sand it off and paint a new one.

    For practice work, I recommend ABS (I get it at a plastic wholesaler), or frosted Mylar, or high quality tracing paper. I did most of my early practice work on tracing paper. It doesn’t need to be prepared and the paint doesn’t soak through.
    William Whitaker
    www.williamwhitaker.com

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  3. #2
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    My medium is simply linseed oil. Nothing else. I keep it in an eyedropper bottle. Walnut oil is another very good oil. I’m not using resins or any fancy mediums currently.
    William Whitaker
    www.williamwhitaker.com

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  5. #3
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    I rubbed the linseed oil over the panel with my fingers. It won’t poison me.
    William Whitaker
    www.williamwhitaker.com

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  7. #4
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    I wanted only the lightest film of oil on the panel, so I followed up the rub-in with a quick wipe with a paper towel.
    William Whitaker
    www.williamwhitaker.com

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  9. #5
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    I added a little linseed oil to some of the stiffer colors. If I do my preparations right, I won’t need to add any additional oil or medium as I paint. My colors are the best I can buy, but I wouldn’t worry too much about paint brands and until you’ve mastered your craft, in fact, I wouldn’t use the most expensive ones.

    I mixed the oil into the colors using my painting knife, and then transfered the result to my palette.
    William Whitaker
    www.williamwhitaker.com

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  11. #6
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    The colors are:
    Titanium White, Ivory Black, Transparent Earth Red (sometimes called Transparent Red Oxide) Raw Umber.

    The grey is my special flesh tone I invented to save time. I call it Mary Sauer Flesh Color, after one of my students whose delicate pale flesh inspired it. It consists of Titanium white darkened with Raw Umber, to which I’ve added Terre Verte.

    Next is Yellow Ochre, and then a darker flesh color made of Gamblin’s Caucasian Flesh Tone to which I added more Yellow Ochre and a little more Cadmium Red Light. Then follows Gamblin’s Caucasian Flesh Tone. For those of you who cannot get Gamblin Oils, the color is merely Titanium White to which Yellow Ochre has been added until you get a light yellow. Then add tiny bits of Cadmium Red Light and be careful. The red has a lot of tinting power and it’s easy to add too much and make this color too pink.

    Next is Cadmium Red Light. I’ve learned to squeeze out very little color when I know I won’t need much of it. Then Permanent Alizarin Crimson, then a little Permanent Sap Green, and finally a little Ultramarine Blue. I don’t think I’ll be using the blue in this demo, so this is just an in case color.
    William Whitaker
    www.williamwhitaker.com

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  13. #7
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    Thanks for this, Bill, I've been wrestling with flesh tones lately so this was extremely helpful!

  14. #8
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    Fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to put this together. There's some great info here.

  15. #9
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    Lovely post Mr. Whitaker, thanks of sharing.

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  17. #11
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    Thanks for taking the time to post this thread. As someone starting to get into oils it's great to see these process shots from someone who knows a considerable amount about painting. Cheers!

  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aefx View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to post this thread. As someone starting to get into oils it's great to see these process shots from someone who knows a considerable amount about painting. Cheers!
    Yeah, I'm starting oils too so this is a great help, thanks heaps mr whitaker!
    I'm trying to find as much knowledge about oils so I don't waste a whole lot of time and paint.

  19. #13
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    thanks for another great painting demo!
    a real lifesaver with practical recommendations and a straightforward working process
    "The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe."
    Bob Ross
    'Updates every other decade' Book
    Death by Hue Shift!

  20. #14
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    Thank you very much sir. I just started painting this week and this small tutorial helped me understand process alot better

  21. #15
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    William you set such a great example. I am thinking about reverse adopting you officially. Thank you so much for doing this. We are very very lucky to have you posting here with us.


    Jason

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