Portrait of an Indian woman


             Good morning! It feels good to hold a paint brush, to watch the colors flow. I finished this part of the painting yesterday.

Austerities in Summer 

             These are the colors I have used for the skin tones – Schminke’s indian yellow, permanent karmin, pthalo blue, a bit of translucent orange (centre and bottom right). [The indian yellow is warmer, orangish not like the true primary (neither warm or cool) that you see in the photo.] Mixing the three primaries so that they cancel out each other equally gives a grey or black if not diluted too much. (not in equal quantities because blue and red are stronger valued than yellow and you would need less of them) If this mixture is pushed more towards the blue and red, it gives a violet grey. If it is more towards the yellow and red, it gives a brown (just a bit more red and blue gives a dark brown) A very diluted mixture of yellow, a bit of red and very little of blue is what I start out with for skin tones. If you don’t use blue, it will look very vivid – like a sunburnt skin. [Avoid pushing the mix towards the blue and yellow which will give a greenish grey]     

the colors


             In this painting, she is going to surrounded by fire, so instead of leaving the white of the paper for highlights (as in ‘Beginning of Parvathi’s Austerities’), I washed in a very diluted mix of indian yellow and translucent orange wet in wet on the face and hands (step a). {This is because skin reflects the colors of the objects surrounding it, to a certain extent. You can observe this in the photo in the previous post. The green of the dress is seen reflected on the inner side of the arms, also on the left side of the forehead. That’s why some colors look good on you and some don’t. For me, any fabric which has an yellow base to it (like this yellowish green chudidar) gives the skin a glow….so when shopping, the brick reds, burnt oranges, mustard yellows are taken for granted will look good! See for yourself, if you haven’t already}Left to dry. The next tone is a value between 1 and 2 in a 9 value scale range. (in fact, almost all the values are in between 1 and 3, so they have to be carefully observed and put in)  I put a slightly darker value on the sides of the forehead leaving the centre for highlight (step b). Even if the value is the same, the colors might be different. The right side of the forehead is more towards the red.

step bstep a

step c


                More color on the cheeks but left lighter on either side of the nose.

step d


                   The lips are of the same color but a bit towards the red. Highlight on the lower lip.

step e


                Darker values on the left side. The eyes are within their sockets, hollowed in, so they are almost always darker valued. Violet grey here. The area below the lips is also always darker valued (it is receding in) and the chin is in highlight (protruding).  

step f


               The middle of the eyelids catch the light. The small vertical tear drop shaped area above the upper lip is in shadow. The sides of the nose are in shadow. Highlight at the tip of the nose. Small shadows below the nostrils.

step g


                Painted in the eyebrows and eyeline and nostrils with a grey. Small irregular strokes for eyelashes. Bindi with a dark red. Lines on either side of the nose to define cheeks should be very subtle so that the skin doesnt look  saggy. Shadows on the nose above the nostril to define the nose. Upper lip is darker than the lower lip. Violet grey line between the two lips brushed upwards for a shadow on the upper lip. Some dry brush work here to make them look parched.

step h

 step i

 step j

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