Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mixing Peachy Flesh Tones

Portrait by Charles Reid
Last year shortly before the first Sketch Seminar, I first came across the beautiful watercolor portraits by Charles Reid. If you haven't seen his portraits before do yourself a favor and go remedy that at once!
Photos provided by "Watercolour Fanatic"












Until that point I'd been using a water soluble crayon in something like a peach tone for my sketches. There is is just something about the way Reid's colors melt into one another that made me feel like I had to try his method.

After a little digging in search engine results I came upon a video clip where he shares his color recipe. You can watch it here.
washes of this recipe in various intensities

Reid's basic recipe:
2 parts cadimum red
1 part cadimum yellow
dot cerulean blue (worked out)

Now I haven't been working with watercolors very long so there are some colors that just baffle me! Yes, that is to say that I don't own cerulean blue. Instead I subbed my cheap phthalo blue. I think it worked well – when I remembered to work out the pigment before adding it to the mix!

Photo taken from Gurney's Blog Post
I really enjoy using this mix of colors in combination with this guide for color points I found on James Gurney's blog. (Another artist worth investigating!) Of course there is a way to use this guide that looks suspiciously like a clown, but with moderation and enough water things tend to level out. Below is a study I did with Reid's color mix and Gurney's hints.



Even though I still over work my paint relatively often I greatly prefer this method for peachy tones to my crayon. Why? Well, with a dash of yellow ochre or raw sienna can really shake up the tone. Mixing these tones instead of using a pre-made color brick is also great because it gives a gradient between colors that really shows off the benefits of watercolors.

What about you, do you prefer premixed colors or mixing your own? Why? Do you have a favorite peachy recipe? How about other skin tones?

2 comments:

  1. Great post! Charles Reid is one of my favorite artists! I love his sense of color but I also love that he says (to paraphrase) it makes little difference what colors you use as long as you get the values right.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No Cads in my palette but I use his general system. Raw Sienna, Pyrrol Scarlet, a touch of Cerulean Chromium and plenty of water. I may have to try substituting the RS with Azo Yellow just to see how it works!

    Another great post... thank you!

    ReplyDelete