How to Paint a Basic Skin Tone in Watercolor

So you want to paint skin, but you're wanting to keep it simple. This might be because you are a beginner, just sketching, or just wanting to get basic colors because you aren't getting majorly into portraiture. 

I've found that by using Venetian Red, Van Dyke Brown, and Ultramarine you can get a wide range of skin tone and their values. 

I'm really into this triad because of the various textures. We have the granulation going on in the Ultramarine but then we also have opacity in Venetian Red. So we have simplicity in the mixing of flesh tone, but it ends up looking really interesting texturally.

I also like this because most people probably have Ultramarine and Van Dyke Brown (or a similar earth brown) but then you throw in the Venetian Red, which is a pigment that I hadn't worked with before and doesn't seem to be overly common in an artist's standard palette.  

 Qor Ultramarine Blue

Qor Ultramarine Blue

 Qor Van Dyke Brown

Qor Van Dyke Brown

 Qor Venitien Red

Qor Venitien Red

Above images are from the QoR website and aren't they amazing! Thats some next level swatching!

 a range of skin tones created from varying my mixtures and water amounts.

a range of skin tones created from varying my mixtures and water amounts.

 Check out the variety in skin tone, but also the low chroma purples and greys from these 3 colors. Also TEXTURE!!!

Check out the variety in skin tone, but also the low chroma purples and greys from these 3 colors. Also TEXTURE!!!

So when you are simplifying skin tone down this much you aren't getting results that are particularly nuanced, but its really great for sketching, practice, value studies, and planning for larger and involved paintings.

Commission Speed Paint

I was lucky enough to be asked to paint this portrait! Check out my process in the above video. If you are interested in having me paint your or your loved one's face you can let me know on my commission page

Prices start at $250 for a 9x12in watercolor on paper.

Art Vlogging

Since my work schedule is light this week due to Thanksgiving I decided to try out daily vlog style videos. I've done it 3 days now and I've really enjoyed it. Check out my youtube channel and drop a subscribe 

Yupo Watercolor Paper Review

yupo

Check out my Yupo paper review in the above video. If you are a watercolorist you need to check this out! If you aren't familiar with Yupo its a non absorbent watercolor paper so its sort of like painting on a plastic surface. Its a really fun twist on the standard watercolor experice and I highly recommend giving it a try.

Here is a couple of my experimentations with Yupo. I'm definitely going to continue exploring.

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September 2017 in Review

Paintings I completed this past month

First:  "Try on Politics" 24x36in Oil on Canvas

This painting is the first of the Sweater Series. Its a reflection of the politics that I wore as a child raised in a conservative environment. 

Middle:  "Try on Feminine" 24x24in Oil on Canvas

The second in the Sweater Series is about how I've looked at my own womanhood and tried on different approaches to my own femaleness. 

Last: "Blue Light Noise" 20x24in Oil on Canvas

The final painting in the video is unrelated to the first two. Blue Light Noise is about feeling overwhelmed by the constant internet chatter. 

Check out my video or previous blog posts for more about each of these new pieces. 

 

Choosing a Photo for a Commissioned Portrait

I'm excited to be opening up commissions!  I wanted to give ya'll a few tips on picking the right photo for your portrait. There are exeptions to all of these rules so don't hesitate to email me a photo and I'll give you my honest feedback on whether or not it would be good for a painting. My email is jennygranberry@gmail.com.

Photos to Avoid

Big Smiles

Happy grins are great in photos, but come off strange in paintings. How many famous painted portraits can you think of that have toothy smiles in them? Smiles can be good, but its best to avoid cheesing for the camera sort of pictures.

 A cute photo of my dad and sister, but the yellow toned artificial lighting is also not ideal in this photo.  Some images are best left as photos.

A cute photo of my dad and sister, but the yellow toned artificial lighting is also not ideal in this photo.

Some images are best left as photos.

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Unflattering or Strange Lighting

You probably are going to naturally gravitate towards well lit photos because they are the most flattering, but still be aware of how shadows play across the face.

 I do love the quirky hats, but the lighting does no favors for my little sis and bro.

I do love the quirky hats, but the lighting does no favors for my little sis and bro.

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Low Quality Photos

I can work around some photography issues, but if the photo quality is too poor it won't be usable

 The resolution of this photo is fine, but her face is totally in shadows and part of it is cropped out of the image

The resolution of this photo is fine, but her face is totally in shadows and part of it is cropped out of the image

 This one is totally pixilated and the face is blown out. Be sure to avoid sending overly edited or filtered photos if at all possible.

This one is totally pixilated and the face is blown out. Be sure to avoid sending overly edited or filtered photos if at all possible.

Here are some nice photos

 Well lit, captures personality, flattering.

Well lit, captures personality, flattering.

 This would make for a great portrait even with the weird dog face. If she were to email me a less creepy picture of her dog I could combine the 2 photos to make one nice portrait. 

This would make for a great portrait even with the weird dog face. If she were to email me a less creepy picture of her dog I could combine the 2 photos to make one nice portrait. 

 An elegant candid. A painting would take this cropped in photo and elevate it to an art piece.

An elegant candid. A painting would take this cropped in photo and elevate it to an art piece.

 Well lit with a soft smile. The partial face on the right wouldn't be in the painting.

Well lit with a soft smile. The partial face on the right wouldn't be in the painting.