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Painting skin

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  • Painting skin

    When I see artists paint lighter skin tones, they make some parts of the body redder than others (like blush). I usually see it in places like the cheeks, elbows, and palms. But sometimes I see it applied to seeming random spots. What causes this, and when should it be used?

  • #2
    This is an excellent question. I'm not sure there are serious painters who hang out here who would know the answer. Part of the explanation I believe is the effort to create highlights and a consistent light source, which helps give three-dimensionality to the figure.

    Also, since I assume you are largely referring to traditional portraiture, in the old days lighting was pretty weak, accomplished with lamps and candles. Today, with electric lights, you would expect portraits to have completely different patterns of color tones and highlights. Now that I think of it, the explosion of Modern Art at the turn of the last century largely coincides with the rise of electric lighting. I think I'm getting an idea for a thesis here.

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