Week 11

Our model today was Jonathan Beck. In my demonstration I talked about "skin tone". In my opinion it is not very helpful to think in terms of "skin tone". Colors in skin change dramatically depending on environment and light source. Obviously different races also have dramatically different colors in their skin but even individuals in the same race can be very different. 

I showed you two different artists: Lucien Freud and David Hockney. Early in his career Freud painted very monochromatic skin. It looks to me like raw umber and white. The skin in his paintings seemed to get increasingly more diverse over the course of his lifetime but even the early paintings were perfectly believable as skin tone. 

The point I wanted to drive home in class today is that I think the majority of you would be more satisfied with your "skin tones" if you focused on getting the value relationships correct. As I showed you with Freud and Hockney you can use very unusual hues (colors) and have the skin still be convincing as skin if you get the light and dark relationships (value) right. 

If you focus on trying to understand how the three characteristics of color : hue, value and saturation relate to one another you will have more success than if you focus on learning recipes for skin tone.

After I said all this I did give you a recipe though. Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White mixed in different proportions will get you off to a pretty good start for most skin tones. If you don't understand value it won't matter what recipe you use - the colors won't look right.