Tag Archives: painting flesh tones in acrylic

A Piece of Me #04, acrylic over collage on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #04, acrylic

A Piece of Me #04, underdrawing in ink wash and pen and ink.

A Piece of Me #04, underdrawing in ink wash and pen and ink.

A Piece of Me #04, after the imprimatura.

A Piece of Me #04, after the imprimatura.

Finally, the last of the acrylics series. I saved this panel for the last knowing it could be quick work if I was lucky, but I would have to be on top of my game.

Compositionally this included a section of my face and hair against a background of architectural shapes. The light came in strongly from the right.

The work up for the panel was collage. So I used sections of an old pleated linen shirt for the background, then cut up long, thin strips of cloth for the strands of my hair. When it came to sculpting my face I used thick pieces of linen and even glued in a thicker piece underneath for my eyebrow.

I drew in the composition with washes of india ink (above, left), then coated the panel with yellow ochre for an imprimatura and added in darker accents with pen and ink (above, right). On top of that I gave the face a green underpainting (no photograph of that stage). Painting skin tone this way always looks so ghoulish at the start but it’s fantastic for achieving chromatic dimensionality very quickly. After all, blue veins do pulse under our warm, translucent flesh.

A Piece of Me #04, acrylic over collage on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 in.

A Piece of Me #04, acrylic over collage on panel. 21 x 13.3 cm or 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 in.

During the alia-prima painting phase I painted in the white tonalities of the background first, then proceeded to the hair and face. Things began to come alive very quickly. After the (cool, pinkish) skin tone dried I laid in a glaze of yellow ochre to warm it all up and decided to stop. Some might consider this to need more work, that is, to bring it to a fuller, more developed state of completion since the underdrawing is still quite visible in places. But I fear if I continued I would lose its freshness and spontaneity. There is plenty of suggestion; already there is a lot going on. So I will stop and call this one yet another haptic-happening.

Description of the overall project here. Technical write up of my use of acrylics for indirect painting in this project here.