Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Painting a Head Study, Part 2

In the second session with my oil painting class, I demonstrated premixing a palette that we'd be using for the flesh tones, the background and the hair. If you missed it, here's Part 1.
I'm a firm believer in premixing strings of color, it takes a little patience, but I think it pays off when you get into it.
I started with the background and worked forward, and in adjacent areas so that I could have good control of the edges.

I store my paint in a Masterson plastic palette with a cover. It's then wrapped in a trash bag and stored in the freezer. The paint will still be usable at our next class so all the mixing time and paint will not be wasted.

My understanding is that a home freezer doesn't get cold enough to actually freeze the paint but slows down the oxidation process which is what actually dries oil paint.

There is debate among artists about this but it makes sense to me. What everyone agrees with is never freeze your brushes or a painting! The cold will adversely affect your painting surface, the wood in the brushes, etc.

Be prepared to have your family complain about losing freezer space, a mini turf war of sorts. Especially when you have multiple palettes in there. (I'm up to three). The war generally fades to a rumble if you have your defense prepared.  Go on long enough about saving time and money and you shall prevail!


  1. Enjoying your posts... Is that Indian red, terra rosa, burnt sienna and raw umber in your strings? Also what is you preferred green on your pallette?

    1. Thanks you Suzanne, actually my colors in the flesh tend to be Yellow Ochre, Scarlett, Permanent Madder Deep, Chromium Oxide Green, Cobalt/Ultramarine, all in Rembrandt brand. For the darker shades I also use Burnt Umber and Transparent Oxide Orange. It is hard to decipher on a photo. Thanks for looking!

  2. lol that is too funny, I recently started storing my palette in the freezer and had my defense all prepared and waited, and waited...nothing. I guess my man has just given up on trying to make sense of my art insanity as he calls it ;)

    Thanks so much for the demo on the color mixes, this is the area I really struggle with. I tend to end up with vampireish looking skin as I tend to over mix them with white (even though I repeatedly tell myself not too..apparently I am very stubborn)

    It really helps to see your strings to see how chromatic the colors should be, practice, practice, practice :)

    1. I do think a trick is to not add white until there is no choice. I use Yellow Ochre a lot, going back to more transparent colors in the shadows. Practice is right, remember to linger int he uncomfortable zone :)

    2. thanks yes I have a sticky note about your tip with the yellow ochre from one of your past posts and to not use white, I need to tape that on my palette when I paint next as I have been meaning to try that in my next piece once the under painting is dry :)

  3. Premixing colors is the key for a good portrait! Colors looks great!



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