The Eyes Have It

Make a decision as to whether you’ll paint the eyes in your portrait realistically or playfully. If you choose to paint in a photorealistic manner, you’ll need to remind yourself to show restraint when applying color to the eyes. When painting the eyes in your portraits, you can begin with a pure pigment. Then, as you move through the successive layers of the painting, reduce the color to a beautiful neutral of that same color family. You can achieve a realistic color with this method by using just a few colors from your palette; the three primaries work very well if all three are either warm or cool (for example, permanent rose, aureolin yellow and Winsor blue). If you’d like an eye that’s on the green side, simply make sure that you apply more blue and yellow layers to this eye than red layers, until you get the hue you’re looking for. The last color applied will always give you the dominant color tendency.

Foster Caddell lives in Voluntown, Connecticut, and is a memeber of many organizations, including the Pastel Society of America.

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