This weekend I took an oil painting portrait workshop with Michael Peery. I took this workshop for two reasons, I am hoping what I learned will help me with my colored pencil portraits, in terms of color and value and rendering the human figure. I also wanted to do something different and out of the box for me. I always believe that one medium will influence another.
Michael Peery is a fantastic painter from New London, Connecticut and teaches at both Rhode Island School of Design and Rhode Island College. His portrait and still life work is just fascinating and American Artist magazine published an article about his inspirations, style of painting and his works in the March 2010 issue. I have included the links.
To paint the portrait, we learned Michael's technique of mixing the basic or beginning flesh tones from flake white, transparent red oxide and payne's gray. A series of colorful grays or flesh tones are created (see Michael's value chart above using these three colors only). He prefers flake white to titanium for more subtle flesh tones, often the painter may achieve a pasty or chalky look mixing with titanium white. I have to add that one must be careful working with flake white because it has a lead base. From that basic palette we mixed other colors as we began laying in the values and hues of the figure.
The bottom photo is Michael's demonstration of how he begins the portrait painting and shows his palette with transparent red oxide, payne's gray and flake white value mixtures in the center and other colors in his palette surrounding them.
I'm going out on a limb and posting my painting in its beginning stages. Because after this, I started to really mess her up! I'm still learning oils and the portrait process is soooo slow for me. Our model was lit by two lights; the brightest light source on the left and a more subtle greenish light on the right which highlighted our model in green and allowed us to experiment with green in skin tones. I love color so I found that part fascinating. With two light sources, we learned about transition shadows on the flesh as it turns from one light source to the next. I had fun with the colorful shadows and highlights on the model's skin and hope to eventually finish this piece in my studio.