In preparation for an upcoming commission, I decided to retest the extremes of what I could could do with skintones. In this case I decided to go with a near opposite range of tone from what most would consider ‘traditional skintones’. For this exercise, I instead, stepped deep into the chroma of green to use as the base for a balanced sense of tone on a nude, that would still be perceived as being ‘naturalistic‘.
Muddy tones of green are frequently used as shadows within my renderings of caucasian flesh, but I wanted to take a step into a challenge and find out how far I could push this extreme. Above is the palette, and the “mud” mixture, that I used to make the final painting below.
The key to all this is to understand and accept that no color is inherently warm nor cool. The temperature of any color is keyed upon what you surround it with. Red can be ‘cool’, and blues can feel ‘hot’ pending your surrounding choices which establish the ‘atmosphere’ of the image. A balance is then achieved by discovering what tones are needed to tweak out the warm and cool relationships which make painting flesh so exciting!
And lastly selecting the right frame can compliment the warm/cool relationship within the painting.
The green flesh tones work just fine here, great job! I think that color schemes like this are fully acceptable to modern viewers, compared to the past. Part of the reason is due to computer color grading on movies and TV over the last 20 years or so. We see all kinds of extreme color casts in movies, which benefit artists who want to push the color envelope as well.
Color relationships are so fun to mess with! I’ve found that if you paint a picture with a very strong color cast (say, red), then the neutral versions of that color (like reddish grays) will look like the opposite color (in this case, green). So you can paint a picture without a single drop of green in it, but because of the way our eyes adjust for color, you’d swear there was.