Here we are back from the holiday weekend ready to get started on this painting. I will have the parent take a look and make the final suggestions and we’ll start to paint. Since the last time I posted this drawing I changed the mouth, refined the ear, and also worked on the eyes. The bridge of the nose seems a bit wide, but remember all small children have a very wide bridge as they do not yet have the cartilage for the higher more thin bridge of an adult. Shadows will be utilized to create the illusion of the bridge between the eyes thus setting the eyes back into the head and the brows sitting over the eyes.
At this stage you’ll want to decide your palette. Keep in mind some of this is decided for you. The client wants the painting to have a bit of an African feel so the colors will be warm except fot the trees tops which will be green. Usually with so many warm colors the obvious green would be a less yellow green and to use a bit of blue in the green, this will compliment the warm colors. (Compliments are always opposite on the color wheel) But thinking about the African feel, we may stay with at least some of the yellow green because this is also an African color. When I say African colo, I mean colors which remind you of African cloth or of clothing worn by native Africans. Since I have never been to Africa its safe to ask the customer in this case what they feel are African colors. Commissions are not your vision, they are the clients, so its important for you not to project your needs above theirs.
There are many skin tones and usually if the child is anything but of color you will not paint the child as dark as the child actually is because the child will appear to be of color. Its very important for you to select skin tones lighter than the child’s actual skin tone. Also many tans, browns and reddish brown will make the skin appear dirty or ruddy. Avoid this at all cost. The delicate skin of a child dictates an almost transparent skin color regardless of the child’s photo.
Combinations of blue, red and yellow are best. Although many fine painters will also use burnt sienna I strongly feel that beginning students should use this color in only very thin washes. It can become dirty very quickly and repeated glazes makes it worse. I have also used with great success cobalt violet which is a cool undertone seen in many Mediterranean skin tones. The problem with this color and use of any of the green skin tones may result in a customer who feels it’s not life like and too “Artsy” (although green and violet have been used for skin tones since the Renaissance), most folks today relate to photos which will not show these tones in the skin.
I’ll be right back, I’m creating my Palette for this little guy. Get your pencil ready because you will want to make a record of these color combinations.
Colors for child’s face and hair
Cad yellow light
French Ultra marine blue
raw sienna / yellow Ochre
Burnt umber/burnt sienna
Rose madder/ Permanent Rose
For the light skin tone of the face… the three main colors will be Permanant rose, Cad yellow light and Cobalt blue. Before I actually start this mixture I will paint a wash of Cerulean blue over the shadow side of the hair. I will paint a raw sienna wash on the light side of the hair. Paint this wet into wet and allow the portion where the light is shining to stay white. This is the underpainting for the hair. Then while that is wet I will paint right into this blue the color of the face which will be the cad yellow and the Permanant rose. This mixture should look almost like water with very little value. Whatever you do… Do not make green with the mixture. The cad yellow and the blue make green so mix in enough red so the yellow and blue do not mingle. if you do not use cads you can substitute a very light wash of naples yellow with a touch of burn’t sienna with the permanant rose. Let this dry..
color of the eyes will be French ultra marine blue and Burn’t sienna
Rose madder will be used to warm up the skin in areas such as under the nose.
Cerulean blue will be between the eyes
Burn’t umber will be used for some of the shadow and darker less warm areas of the face.
Over the shadow side of the face, you will use cobalt violet or cobalt blue…