Testing some new colors : Plus, finally getting a nice portrait
Trying out a new color: Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon.
I’ve learned this new term : Masstone. That is, the color when the pigment is applied full strength – as compared to when diluted. This pigment’s masstone is pretty damn nice if I might say. A deep purple/red that tints out into a fairly passable Northern European skin tone. This sketch is a good example I think.
This sketch is almost entirely done with the one color, Perylene Maroon. Using with a bit of DS Bloodstone Genuine for the darks in the hair, maybe the lightest hint of DS Quinacridone Deep Gold under the nose and along the left eye (an accidental touch really) and one stroke of DS Mayan Blue Genuine at the back of the head.
This may be the perfect limited palette for figure painting dark haired Caucasians.
I’ve been idly looking for a solution for the poor light-fastness of my favorite cool-red Alizarin Crimson, which is well known to be unreliable when exposed to the light. Much like the Caucasians it is used to paint.
There’s a pretty straight-up hatchet job of poor pale Aliz over on Handprint.com. After reading that I had to do something about switching.
The only thing that is a bit daunting about this Maroon is its powerful tinting strength. The DS version I’m testing seems to easily overpowering other colors. It’s almost like there might be ‘beginner’ and ‘advanced’ palette choices. Alizarin is a pliable color. It’s compatible with a lot of things. I normally mix with Ultramarine blue to make darks, Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ocher to make flesh – both of which this new Maroon can simply do on its own. But I also use Alizarin in foliage quite often. Being a nice complement for green. So. I’ll have to keep testing and let you know how I like it in situations other than the life model.
DS Bloodstone Genuine on the other hand is challenging in the opposite way. It’s a velvety dark in masstone – a rich warm black. But weak as a kitten in dilution. I actually really like it – but it’s very hard to use. You almost need to use it impasto to get any power from it when edge-pulling with water. But it made a beautiful sedimentary haze next to her left eye socket – and in the hair mass behind her jaw.
Oh, and yes – this sketch was another incremental break-though for me. I’ve painted with Elissa many times – but it’s taken multiple tries, before I can finally recognize her. I really can’t emphasize enough how hard likenesses are. I don’t think it’s possible to get a great rendition on the first try. At least not by me. I keep gaining respect for the real portrait painters out there.