Monday, February 11, 2019

Portait Painting Tip #1: Know your light source.

Know your light source. The first step is to identify the temperature of your light source. In model sessions we typically use either warm or cool spot lights. This step is important because the intensity and temperature of light influences the colors of the skin tones, surroundings and overall harmony of the painting. Don't get caught up with the local colors, try to observe the effect of light on the colors.

Cool light has warm shadows but remember, color temperature is always relative. What this means is that the shadow is warmer relative only to the colors of the skin tone in the light, so the overall harmony of the whole picture could still be cool. Also the shadow is affected by reflected light which could be warm or cool depending on the surrounding colors. 

Few examples of cool light paintings by Sargent and Fechin. Notice the overall cool color harmony of these paintings. 

Few examples of warm light paintings by Sargent and Sorolla. Notice the warm harmony of these paintings, the warm light affects the surroundings as well.
An example of cool and warm Max Ginsburg paintings side by side. Compare and contrast the skin tones of these two paintings.
PS: I am organizing a weekly long pose model session on Wednesdays from 2:30-5:30pm at ColorsArt, 270 E Main St, Hillsboro. Price is $15.Please email me at if interested. RSVP is appreciated.

Also See Portrait Painting Tip #2Tip #3Tip#4

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