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…
Forgive the title…I’m kind of a dork…
Yowzah it’s been a long time since I posted! So long that I forgot my password to log on to my site! I have been very very busy with things that I will share with you at a future point. However, for the moment, I’m STILL busy. I do want to show you a piece that I finished a few months ago, though, that I’ve yet to share. It’s a diptych (which is a fancy way of saying that it’s on two panels). I had so much fun with the colors in the skin tones-greens, violets, reds… To anyone reading this who is not
a (totally obsessed with tiny details, value shifts, and color changes) realist artist, that statement probably sounded weird. I mean, caucasian hands should be painted in caucasian flesh tone, right? Yeah right, and grass is green and apples are red. Ok, well, those last two are true even though much more goes into those than meets the eye as well. But skin… how can I begin!? Skin is an organ, right? The largest organ of your whole entire body. It is a living thing with blood flow, covering muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones. And because it’s translucent, those elements underneath affect the color of the skin on top. So, take that complexity and add to it some other factors like form, light, shadow, the hills and valleys that make it look like a hand instead of just a lump of peach or brown clay and it gets pretty colorful. Your amazing brain is so amazing that it takes in all those details and processes them without you even noticing, then says simply to you, “That? That’s a hand.” So, take a minute. Look at the back of your hand. Wiggle your fingers and notice how the shape of the shadows changes as you do so. Pretty cool, huh? Now tell me, what color is your skin?
Tug of Love, detail