I have a note written large above my easel. ‘Put pinks in BEFORE adding blue shades’. I learned the hard way that if you mix the blues, pinks, yellow ochres and naples yellow, you end up with a mud mix. So I start with the highlights, then the darker tones, a mix of ultramarine, Kings Blue Deep (Michael Harding paint) and Quinacridine Magenta and then the pink mix. Then, and only then, when all is good and dry, I start adding the blue highlights which for me make the painting sing. I will also start adding in more pink tones next to other shades as opposed to blending in. Blending does work in the initial stages, but it can look a bit bland if done in the final stages. These are just my thoughts of years of learning (and mistakes) so it may well not work for everyone. You have to find your own style really.
I have started to put detail on the face but need to do a lot more work here, at the moment something is not right…..will also add pattern on skirt as we go along.
Have block painted better with this work so far, i.e putting colours next to each other of different tones which I think works….so far. I am a big fan of Michael Harding paints and find his Naples Yellow brilliant for bringing skin tones alive. The usual Naples Yellow is great to get basic skin tones right (in small quantities) and for this I go with Winsor and Newton. I also add in a touch of Cadmium Orange as I go along again to add zest. Best of all is throwing in a touch of bright pink somewhere or red, depending if the painting is warm or cold, as this really does draw the eye and lifts the whole painting.
Again, have started detail on the face, and it needs working on, but am generally happy with how this is progressing.
This last painting has just sold and is on its way to San Francisco. I wanted to paint a quiet reflective work and think I have achieved this. You don’t always have to show a face in a painting, the viewer will work out his or her own image. I used a more muted palette here to suit the slightly sombre mood.
More work can be seen at www.michewatkins.com