I love to paint hands. Love them. All the joints and angles and fat parts and skinny parts and knobby parts… are your palms sweating just thinking about it? I, too, used to cringe when I got to hands- all the joints and angles make them a bit of a challenge. Make the fat parts too fat and you get sausage fingers. Too skinny and you get E.T. But get those angles right and… ah, satisfaction. Now, they’re my favorites. So, for practice(and for fun):
Since I’m working on a mid-value background, I layout the general shape, then establish my darks.
Keeping the greenish middle value in mind for the greener areas of my skin, next I lay down the lighter areas
I travel back and forth between dark and light, and really try to capture the color temperature as well
Typically I work with an easel, but in this case I had my panel laying flat so that I could view it from approximately the same angle as the model… by which I mean my hand.
To avoid getting too detailed too soon, I lay my shapes in broadly, with the intention of smoothing and blending later.
By laying the paint down broadly, I can get a feel for the form.
I’m careful about the amount of blending I do. I want the painting to look finished, but I don’t want it to lose its shape.
Click on the images above for more details on my process.
Oh, and here’s my palette. Because that’s fun too!
Look at all the pretty colors… and not one of them labeled as a flesh tone. Reality lies between the lines.
If I was painting someone with a darker skin tone, I would likely use many of these same colors. However, I’d spend more time up top, at the darker end of my color strings. And, of course, the opposite holds true for fair-skinned folk, whose skin tones lie in the lower third of my palette.
So, go out and paint something that scares you. Maybe next I’ll tackle feet… or profiles. Eeek…
“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” -Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit