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How to mixed the color of the faces in the portrait.

Often self-taught artists or beginning portrait painters ask the same question: how to paint a portrait of a person? What paint to take for a portrait? How to get body color? As a rule, the drawing itself can be done somehow, some even draw their own features, stretch their facial features, but with the color everything becomes completely incomprehensible. So what to do?

 In my childhood, even before the first academic classes in art school, I really liked to paint portraits: they were family members, friends and acquaintances. Like all children, I placed the portrait in full face, tried to convey the “similarity” in the portrait, easily coped with the complexion, background, clothes, without hesitation, mixing it in the lid of the paint can. All this happened completely thoughtlessly, on a whim, but the portraits turned out funny and childishly cute.

   And so, once at a drawing lesson at school, the teacher asked the question: “What color is the face and body of a person?”. The options were different: white, pink, brown. But no one got to the correct answer. But, having come home after the lesson, I proudly declared: “And I know what color the ORHOVOE human face is!”. Dad laughed for a long time, because ocher or ocher shades were not yet known to me, therefore the letters were so rearranged in places. This story is still remembered here as a family joke. But everything is not as simple as it seems.

   Let's compare the complexion of different people by nationality, place of residence, degree of fire, age, sex, and so on. Do they resemble the complexion? This color is so individual and complex that for each model the portrait painter mixes the corresponding color separately: greenish, reddish, porcelain-pink, tan brown, coffee with milk and so on. Of particular importance is the "tanning" of certain places, the proximity of capillaries to the skin, the quality and color of the blush and, of course, reflexes from clothes and background, as well as the overall color harmony of the face, eyes, hair, clothing, lighting and so on. As you can see, there are a lot of various nuances for such a simple generalization.

   Let's look at painting of a portrait, namely we will analyse as the famous portrait painters solved a problem of color of a human face. Besides everything listed, they created the finished artistic image in a portrait, transmitting through a color system and the invoice of dab of feature of character and temperament of model, the to it the relation. It Serov's portraits are also good: all of them are different. And at Vrubel? Look, it is not “bodily” color painted face Swan Princess or Pan, but the effect of “living face” is more than convincing. And the famous peasant woman Arkhipova? A famous peasant Arkhipova? Quite a different color and mood, but also alive (and even what a living!) body. And the faces in Kramskoy's paintings? How can we generalize all this magnificence?

   As you can see, there is no concrete, exact recipe when writing the person, there is no such "magic" color which will be universal. Of course, on sale there are relatives on color shades: neapolitan yellow and orange, neapolitan pink, ochre, english red and so on. But it is only one of shades, and in each person their set: the whole bouquet of the gentle color dabs petals differing from each other on almost inaudible in a human eye color nuance, and contrast, close to complementary colors in a color circle, absolutely different in lightness and saturation.

   “How to achieve this in painting classes?” you ask. The answer is one - to paint more, to train the eyes, to see complex colors, and the hand - to mix them and the shades close to them. Painting is not only a pleasant pastime: color theory is a science. And that painting lessons do not get bored, you can set different tasks for yourself: to illuminate the model in different ways (warm and cold light, top, bottom, side), paint it on a contrasting or related background, use a picturesque or decorative solution in the work, limit yourself in time (20-30-minute sketches; 1-2 hours or hours of exercise). Very good, at first, short-term sketches (necessarily from nature!) with live model. These are color “patches” up to 2 hours of execution time, format up to A3. If you do them in a disciplined way - do not write out the details, catch yourself on what you write is not the eyes, nose, hair and lips, and shape sculpt color, make them a lot and constantly, given the color of the background and reflexes, the result will not take long to wait. You will see the progress when, after numerous similar exercises, you will paint a long, multi-session portrait. The hand itself will quickly and easily mix the desired shade, there will be no dirty, “tortured” colors or unnecessarily “screaming” (for example: purple bruises under the eyes or red alcoholic noses and ears, or lips). There will be subtle, elegant color harmony and exquisite color solutions.

   Good help in teaching portrait painting copying great masters. Let the reproduction, but always with high-quality reproduction. With proper copying: getting into color mixes, transferring the texture and shape of a brush stroke, studying form modeling, you will step by step along the path of the master and understand the features of his creative method yourself. The task for yourself is desirable to put any one, at your discretion: color in light and shade, technique of stroke, transfer of form, study of the dynamics of bright, rich, saturated and low-saturated colors, tonal scale: from light to dark, and so on.

Student Nastya Kalistratova draws a portrait in Jotto Art School.

   As with any painting lesson, oil painting portrait according to your interesting and exciting, but professional skill in this genre is always appreciated especially. Therefore, try to write portraits from nature (at least yourself in the mirror), in different costumes, situations, images, as did the great Rembrandt. This is a very exciting and deep lesson. And if you want to solve all these issues most quickly and effectively under the guidance of a teacher - come to us for a course of portrait painting and other drawing courses in Yekaterinburg. Happy to help.

Portraits made by students of Ekaterina Kryukova (Pilipenko)

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