Painting the face in oils
Hello class! Thank you for your patience. I've been quite busy lately, but am glad to say I've finally put together the third installment of our painting class.
I must admit, it wasn't without it's problems. So I had to get creative in how I present this segment to you.
Essentially, because the oil paints stay wet for a long period of time, they become very reflective and make good close-up photography difficult. I found that my pictures really weren't showing the information I wanted to convey to you. So I opted to present this class using two different methods as you'll see below. I hope you find them just as useful.
Let's get started.
Here are the paints I used for painting the face. I use plain household wax paper for my palette. For brushes I used primarily 3/0 sable brushes. I use generic turpentine as my thinner. Oil paints go a long way. What I put on my palette here is far more than I needed. Be conservative when squeezing out your paints.
Here you'll notice I basecoated a piece of styrene in the Vallejo sand brown. I used this to explain some of the techniques as it allowed for a larger area and easier visibility.
I started out with a mixture of Burnt Sienna & Titanium white to get a generic caucasian flesh color. As a rule I try to keep my oils as dry as possible. Too much thinner will make the paint runny and less controlable. In this picture, you'll see what happens when you put the paint on too thick. You have alot of streaks and an overall rough texture. This is one of the main problems people have when working with oils. They put it on too thick. Try and avoid this.
Here you'll see that I removed the excess paint to obtain a more even surface.
Here you see the same example as above, but on the actual figure. You can see where you would get into trouble down the road if you started out with the paint as it is shown on the left. If you find that you did put too much paint on, simply wipe your brush well on a clean absorbant cloth, then go back and gently remove the excess.
I laid down four colors which were made from a combination of some of the paints on my palette.
To blend two colors together it is important to use a clean, dry brush. Here I'm using a #1 flat. A gentle touch is key to getting nice blends. As I guide my brush along the edge, I use a light stippling (tapping) motion to work the colors together. Remember, you aren't applying paint to the surface at this point. You are "massaging" the paint that is already there. Light and easy is the way.
Another very important step is to continually clean your brush while blending. The purpose is to remove excess paint that will build up on the brush while blending. I simply drag the brush on my cloth with a fair amount of pressure. I try to avoid using thinner to clean in between , as it can cause you to accidentally discharge a small pool of thinner into your paint and cause it to get messy.
More progress. You'll notice that you get a nice, soft break between the colors, but neither one of them lose their identity.
Continuing to blend the rest of the colors....
Here, all the colors have been blended to their adjacent color. The important part of blending is to get a nice soft transition between without cancelling out eachother.
To better explain this, here I have our base flesh color to which I placed two streaks of raw umber.
Notice how the streak on the left is still visible, but nicely blended. The streak on the right was overworked and ended up mixing completely with the base color, therefore losing it's separation. This is another common mistake for people when working with oils. Overdoing it. Make sure to just work on the edges of transitioning colors until they have a soft, pleasing look. Going too far in either direction kills the effect.
Now, as I said, I had trouble getting good photos to competently show you the progression of the face, so I decided to convey it in illustrations. I think they should prove just as helpful in understanding the placement of shadows and highlights. That coupled with the techniques mentioned above, you should be well on your way.
NOTE: In the illustration I reference permanent rose, when in fact it is the Cadmium Red Deep Hue that I used.
After you finish painting the face it is a good idea to dry it in a dust free place. Oil paints can take days to dry and even weeks depending on the colors you use.
I constructed a drying box based on the article found here on Armorama.
It works like a charm and dramatically reduces the drying time, while keeping the figure out of the dusty environment.
Here is the final pictures of the head as I painted it. I'm not sure they are as good as they can be, so I may try to reshoot them under different lighting and repost them
And there you have it. Please fire away with any questions I may not have answered, or comments you would like to make regarding the overall class.
Until next time, may all your brush strokes be good ones!