See a painting demo of how to mix flesh tones using water mixable oil paints and a palette knife. Using exclusively a palette knife is an effective way to focus entirely on the color mixing process by removing the distraction of needing to address brush technique at the same time. Painting a self-portrait from life, you’ll see how to observe colors in the skin and balance out hue, saturation, value, and warm/cool colors. Watch part 2. Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu.
- Palette knife paintings simplify the process, it’s just one tool.
- The shape and size of a palette knife is a very personal choice.
- Try out many different palette knives to figure out the ones you like.
- The palette knife can be a very awkward tool, it takes time.
- Palette knives are most effective when you use a lot of physical pressure, a lot of people don’t.
- Not using brushes makes it possible to really concentrate on the mixing.
- Mixing colors is time consuming!
- Don’t be frustrated if you are mixing a ton before starting with a brush.
- Artificial light has a warm tint, natural light has a cool tint.
- Look at the color in relation to the colors next to it to determine how to adjust your mixtures.
- Look at the color of your forehead compared to the color of your nose.
- A lot of color mixing is trial and error.
- After you mix a color, put a little swatch on your painting to see how it relates to the other colors before adding a ton of it to the painting.
- This exercise is not about creating a self-portrait that looks like you, you’re using yourself in order to be able to observe the colors in real life.
- Using a very limited palette will get you to mix more, and you can incrementally add more colors as you get more comfortable with painting techniques.
- Don’t just paint the face, be sure to establish the neck, hair, and shoulders.
- Brushes can be distracting when you’re painting, you’re a lot less likely to mix as aggressively.
- 3/4 view of a portrait tends to look more volumetric than straight on views or profiles.
- Use a panel, being a rigid board you’ll be able to provide more physical with the palette knife.
- To truly see color, you need the experience of seeing colors in real life, especially flesh tones.
- Colors don’t translate well in photos, you’ll miss all the subtleties.
- If you aim to create accurate colors from what you see, it will likely be too dull, so exaggerate the colors.
- Training your eye to SEE color will ultimately be the most efficient.
- Water Mixable Safflower Oil
- Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Fast Drying Medium
- Fredrix Canvas Panel
- Winsor & Newton Impasto medium
- Water Mixable Stand Oil
- Winsor & Newton Artisan Brushes
- Freezer Paper (disposable palette)
- Palette Knife
- Cotton rags
- Blue Painter’s Tape
- Blue Shop Towels
- Water Mixable Oil, Prussian Blue
- Water Mixable Oil, Cerulean Blue
- Water Mixable Oil, Alizarin crimson
- Water Mixable Oil, Cadmium Red
- Water Mixable Oil, Burnt sienna
- Water Mixable Oil, Raw Sienna
Materials provided by
As a free educational source, Art Prof uses Amazon affiliate links (found in this page) to help pay the bills. This means, Art Prof earns from qualifying purchases.