I have been doing a lot of studies and portraits lately with a palette, for the flesh, limited to Flake or Titanium White, Vermillion, Yellow Ochre and Ivory Black. I have also been experimenting with converting my photo reference to a black and white image and inventing, or looking at old masters as a guide for skin tones. I have been doing weekly paintings from life in my studio (3 hour sessions every Wednesday night if you are in town), and learning a lot about painting flesh. This is of course the best way to learn to paint people, from life, but I also think there is value in having to invent, based on experience.
Here are a few examples along with a couple time-lapses. That seems to be my thing lately. I find a learn a bit after the fact by watching the process playback.
All three of these palettes used the palette I mentioned above and Phthalo Blue for the backgrounds and the green of the leaves in the floral crown.
For the painting below, I worked from a black and white image and had paintings by Jean-Baptiste Greuze up to try and learn a little about his approach to skin.
Meghan, 8" x 10" oil on aluminum panel
This next painting was done the same way, from a black and white image, and is of the same model, but this time I referenced several heads by Bouguereau. I have a long way to go to paint like either Greuze or Bouguereau, but I felt like I learned a lot trying to apply their colors.
Meghan II, 8" x 10" oil on aluminum panel
This last painting was done using the color that I obtained from the photoshoot, but pushing the temperatures a little more.
Rebecca, 11" x 14" oil on aluminum panel
Here are a couple time-lapses of the paintings above.
Thanks for taking a look. I regularly post images from my weekly portrait sessions as well as studies like these on my Instagram account if you are interested.