Q: I’m working on an oil portrait, but I’m having trouble getting the right tones. What colors do you recommend?
A: Painting a successful portrait is similar to painting
a successful still life. Assuming that the subject has one major light
source, the values will deepen as the light source fades into the
shadow area. These tones are generally cooler, and may be the
complementary to the warm, lighter areas. You may want to use
ultramarine blue or viridian green to create the cooler values. I
suggest that you do your homework and look at portraits done by masters
such as Rembrandt or more current artists such as David A. Leffel.
--by Camille LaPointe-Lyons