Sunday, October 07, 2012

A Very Limited Palette

For a recent homework assignment, I had to create a painting using only two colors, Transparent Oxide Red and Ultramarine Blue Deep, and white.  We also created a color scale to understand the range of colors that could be created.

The results were rich "blacks", a broad range warm and cool greys, and some a nice skin tones.   I decided to see what I could do with these colors in a portrait.  I started with an imprimatura under painting using burnt umber.  (not one of the two colors, but it would be painted over)

The blue robe, background and the darks of the hair were easy, but the skin tones were more of a challenge.  Because the photo had a strong light source, I first used warm darks in the shadows (neck and chest area) thinking the skin should have more of the Transparent Oxide Red.  The face had some reflected light from the blue robe, so I tried blue-greys in the shadows of the face.  I also found some other "cool" areas of the face. This made me realize how many blue-greys were in the neck/chest area, too.  As you can see from the "mid-point" version, it now looks too red.  So back to the easel, and below is the finished painting.