Tuesday, May 12, 2020


NO… you cannot get a skin tone color from a tube….  You have to mix it! 

Just about every skin tone contains a little yellow, blue and red, but in different ratios. To create realistic flesh tones, start by mixing an equal part of red, yellow, blue, and white paint together. You can adjust the ratios  of this base mixture for skin tones that are more yellow, orange or pink.  Then, if you want to make light skin tones, add in more white and yellow to lighten the color. If you want to create mid-range skin tones, try adding equal parts burnt umber and raw sienna to darken the shade. 

A nice short cut to skin tones is to use Yellow or Golden Ochre and Raw Sienna then lighten with white.

But if you are wanting your skin tones to look more natural and realistic your palette can include the following mixes of Warm tones, Cool tones and Grays.

Primary base color mixes for Warm tones:
Gold Ochre & Cadmium Scarlet  with Titanium White added for different values  leans more toward orange tones
Gold Ochre & Cadmium Red with Titanium white added for different values  leans more toward pinker skin tones
Gold Ochre + Titanium white added for different values leans more toward  yellow skin tones
You can use Yellow Ochre instead of Gold Ochre it just does not have as much tinting strength

To desaturate these Flesh tones you need to mix some cool tones with the complimentary colors on the color wheel to the tone you are using… Pink, Orange or Yellow.

Primary base color mixes for Cool Tones:
Ultramarine Blue + Titanium White in about 3 different values (light, medium, dark) for the Orange skin tones
Viridian Green + Titanium White in about 3 different values.  These Greens are good to use with Pink skin tones.
Purple made with Ultramarine blue and Alizarin Crimson  - One mixed with more red and one mixed with more blue for a warm purple and cool purple
Add White to your purples for about 3 different values and use this with your Yellow skin tones. 
Always add your darker colors into your lighter colors when mixing to use less paint

After you mix your particular palette warm and cool colors for the portrait you are painting you mix 1 of each warm and cool together to get a few nice grays to use in your shadows and facial contours

Using Grays or less saturated colors
Mixing compliments together to get grays
A Compliments is the color on the opposite side of the color wheel.
Pink tones with Green tones, Orange tones with Blue tones and Yellow tones with Purple tones
Mix similar values together
It is easier to mix cooler colors into warmer colors
If you use a different color than the compliment you will get what artists call a muddy color. 

When mixing colors with your palette knife be sure and wipe it off before dipping in to the pure colors to keep them pure and not contaminate them with another color.

I hope you enjoy these 3 options for color mixing skin tones for your portraits! 

Happy Painting! 🎨

Deb's Dalliance and My Return to the joy of Art & Painting.

I have enjoyed art from an early age. I spent all of my free hours in high school in the art room with an eagerness to learn more. Upon graduation I pursued some studies at the Birmingham Art Museum with a focus on improving my drawing and learning more about art in general. I studied oil painting with an amazing artist at Lindart Studios in the 80's and I owned a small consignment arts & crafts store called the Lily Pad where I crafted and painted items for sale and did commissioned special orders. I am primarily self taught in many respects and am constantly seeking new ways to learn and improve my art. Work took me away from my joy for 30 years and now in retirement I have found it again!

My art journey has been so fulfilling and a few years ago when I started painting again
a fellow artist told me I should have a Facebook Page just for my art. I decided to organize all of my art together in one place to share and enjoy in a social atmosphere and voila! … My new FB Page “Debs Dalliance” evolved! I hope you will “Like” it and Follow me on my journey of joy and love of art!

It is always a Joy to share my creative space with friends who enjoy painting and creating too! I am always thrilled with the many pieces of art that have evolved in the studio! They say that there is a little artist in all of us and I truly believe that! You can view and enjoy the works of the many talented artists that I have enjoyed painting with in the albums on the Deb's Dalliance page called "Sip, Dip and Dabble"!
Happiness is Wet Paint! 🎨

Thanks for the Follow!