I'm challenging myself to make a painting using only Transparent Middle Yellow, Transparent Middle Red, Titanium White, Zinc White, Mars Black and Ivory Black. The rule I've set for myself is I can mix these paints in anyway I want, but I'm not allowed to open any other tubes while working on this project. The painting I'll be doing is of my friend, the restaurateur Oz Blackaller. The point is that I should be able to mix any color I need from just yellow, blue, and red, since those are the primary colors and use white to lighten and black to darken.
The reason I've chosen these particular shades of blue, yellow, and red is because they're transparent and will allow me to glaze, which is what I'm looking for. If you're doing this challenge and want to do an impressionistic or pop art style with your piece, you might want to choose opaque colors, such as cadmium red and yellow and phthalo blue.
I've started with a black and white underpainting made with Mars Black and Titanium White.
To mix the flesh color, I started with a mix of equal parts of my yellow, my red, and my blue. That would give me a neutral base and I could figure out where to go from there.
I glazed this color all over the face and neck as a base,
then I mixed up some orange from red and yellow
and mixed this into the flesh color, anf used this to paint his right temple, the side of his nose and his dimples.
After I started painting this, I thought it was too orangey for the face, but I decided I would wait until the entire painting was finished before I judged it, since the entire room was bathed in an orangish light.
Now I mixed some pink from red and transparent mixing white, mixed this into my flesh color and used this to paint his cheeks and above his eyebrows.
After looking at his face at this point, I decided it needed to be warmed up, so I took some of the orange I had mixed up earlier and mixed some blue into that to tone it down a bit, so it wasn't in your face,
and just glazed this all over the face, like I'd done with the initial base.
When I first put it on, I thought it looked really overwhelming and I was almost ready to go back my palette and mix up a lighter color, but when I started spreading the color out and blending it across the face, I could see it was just what it needed
I could see that the pink areas of his face also needed to be lighter, so I glazed some transparent mixing white, because that would lighten the area while still letting the viewer see the pink underneath, unlike titanium white, which would cover it completely, over those areas.
For the lips, I started by mixing up a grayish pink from the same pink I'd used for part of the face, some ivory black and a little more red to make up for having lost the pink due to having added to much black. I used this for a little bit of the mouth, but I ran out of paint too quickly and had to mix more.
I painted the rest of the mouth using a neutral pink made by mixing transparent middle red with transparent mixing white and hansa yellow light with ultramarine blue. I just added more red and green to this to darken some areas and then went over the right hand corner and the left hand side of the top lip with gray made by mixing transparent mixing white and ivory black.
For his eyes, I mixed brown from red, blue, and yellow. I decided I wanted it to be more of a burnt sienna, so I mixed some extra red into my brown. Lastly, I mixed some ivory black into this volor to darken it before glazing it all over his irises.
To paint the glint in his pupils, I first put a bit of transparent mixing white into the center of them using a small round brush. After that I took a liner brush and some titanium white and painted small white spots over what I had just painted. Finally, I glazed a bit of ivory black over the titanium white, with that same liner brush, for the fuzzy gray effect.
After all that, this is what the eyes looked like.
To paint his hair, I took some of the ivory black I already had out from painting his eyes and some transparent mixing white that I'd already had mixed up with some medium and made a transparent gray. Then I mixed some ultramarine blue into this mixture and painting the paler portions of his hair with this.
This is what it looked like at this point.
I realized it needed a warm brown over it, so I tried using the same brown I had mixed for his eyes, but mixing a bit of yellow into it and a bit more ivory black to darken it. For some reason, I also decided to add a bit ultramarine blue into the mix. After two layers, it wasn't showing up brown enough, so I mixed some of the orange I mixed up earlier into it and then I was like, this right. This is what I was looking for.
I used this color on his eyebrows and eyelashes.
To paint the brighter highlights of his hair, I started by mixing more red into my brown. But I thought that wasn't righf, so I decided it needed some orange, which I mixed up with my trusty Hansa Yellow Light and Transparent Middle Red. After I put this color on the canvas, though, it still didn't look right. I thought maybe it needed more yellow, so I tried that. Eventually, I ended up with something very red on the left hand side and something very yellow on the right hand side, so I glazed green and purple, respectively, over these areas to neutralize them.
After all this, this is what the hair looks like.
To paint his shirt, I used a pale grayish blue that I got by mixing transparent mixing white, ivory black, and ultramarine blue. Then I darkened this color for the shadows and blending the edges ot those with a mop brush.
That's it for the first part of this post. In part two, which will be up next week, I'll be walking you through how I paint the background.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife