Portrait Intensive (Step 3)

After finishing the gray layer, Rick continued his demo and added a dark mid-time. He used the standard recipe; warm yellow, permanent rose, ivory black and titanium White (alkyd). But, looking around the class, we could see his talent for mixing skin tones given that we were all using the same colors with dramatically different results.

With only four colors many of us were winding our palette knives through a maze of hues ... too pink, too purple, too jaundiced, too gray, too blue, too muddy ... until the right color emerged. It was like being in one of those walled gardens. You know you'll come out if you keep your hand on one wall ... you start begin to wonder when ... and then suddenly after many turns you are rewarded with a view of the palace at the exit.

The most important thing he tried to teach at this level was to really use the grey by feathering or scumbling into it with the dark flesh tone. I realized while working over the grey that you really only have one shot to keep it dark and matte. You can erase off if you lay down too much flesh tone but it created a subtle shine that brings light into the area where you are attempting to create dark. The same was true with the umber areas. It worked best when we didn't touch them.