How to compensate for too much red in skin tone?
Here comes the next article to the series of notes on Susan's Watercolor palette.
Article 2 - How to compensate for too much red in skin tone
I am often asked how to compensate for an overly red skin tone.
The magical thing about the method I use is that you can adjust the look of any wash or
combination of washes by simply simply adding further washes of other colors.
For instance if I lay in an underwash of yellow and then once dry- add a skin tone mix of Alizarin Crimson, one of the yellows and maybe some Thalo blue - the end result is entirely dependant on the balance or imbalance I have created with those hues (that means which color this mix favours - if any).
If I have more blue in the mix - the mix will look more in shadow.
If I have more yellow - the mix will look glowing but there is always the possibility if we use too much yellow, the mix may be a bit too yellow for our liking (or it may look as if the light source favours yellow).
If I have the red component too strong in my mix - the skin tone will look too flushed (or it could look as if the light source favours red).
I can of course also balance the mix so it neutralizes all of the colors and we end up with a
grey or dulled, muted color.
- I hope you can see that my point is that when we use layering of hues, we can adjust our final color so it favours what ever color we want to dominate - or we can cancel the predominant cast of color out and give a perfect balance - therefore creating a greyed, dull hue. These are ideal to use juxtaposed next to a lovely glowing color as these greyed, dulled colors will allow the fresher, lively color to glow even more than it would has it been placed next to another bright glowing color. So please don't think of greys and dull browns negatively. They are found in nature and are quite beautiful. I use them to my advantage all the time.
Compensating for too much red is easy. You have a few choices:
Is your skin in shadow or light or both?
If it is in shadow - as soon as you add some of the complementary color - green - or a mix of
Thalo blue and Yellow - you will find it will dull that red down greatly. (I would opt for the blue and yellow mix- I will explain more about that a few paragraphs below)
It is important to note that blue tends to kill any glow - but of course - as with everything - that depends on the amount of blue you use. Hence the reason for going cautiously initially.
Use fine washes - but do let them dry before adding the subsequent washes.
So you can add more as many fine washes you wish, if you require them - but only once each wash has become bone dry. I like my colours to glow through my shadows so I use blue in very fine washes so I can build the blue up slowly allowing me to determine the strength of blue I want without risking applying too much in one layer. It is always better to build fine layers.
Remember one of the wonderful things about my Priming Method is that you get to see (a
sneak preview) of the impact of a wash before you have to commit. What I mean by that is
that when you lay in a wash - because it is wet you are able to see what the two or three
washes of that colour will look like over your underwashes. We all know that once it is dry - that wash will dry so much lighter. So what does that tell you?
- If your wash looks fantastic when it is wet - then you know that you will need one or two more of those fine washes to give you the depth of hue you need to give you the same effect you got when that wash was wet.
- If you dont like the color - then immediately drop a paper towel on the top - or flow in somewater and then drop a paper towel on top. (Dont try this if the new wash has been on thepaper for a little while. It may cause streaking.) Soak up the offending wash and start again.
- Or if the color is okay but you think you need more yellow or more red - then just adjust your subsequent washes to compensate for that.
So you see - nothing is a problem.
You are learning to analyse and judge the hues and the density of your washes. You can relax because you know that with my methods - you can prejudge or subsequently compensate with future washes.