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Basic Color Palette For Fair Skin Tones

In this lesson, working with oils or acrylics and a stretched canvas, you will create a painting of a fair-skinned person. Try working with this color palette for light- or fair-skinned people.

Please keep in mind that this is only a basic idea for a color palette for light skin. You will need to experiment with other color palettes for painting not just light skin, but for the diversity of skin tones from light to dark and in different lighting conditions. After you work with this palette, you should experiment on your own and explore the different ways master artists have captured skin tones (some examples below).

Light Complexion Skin Tones Color Palette


Here is a basic palette for painting fair complexion skin tones with light, middle, and shadow values: Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Orange, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean Blue, and Viridian.


Example 1:  Below, you can see how this palette was applied to light (1), middle (2), and shadow (3) values of the skin using various color combinations of this palette.


Examples of master painters skin tones in various paintings.


John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Albert de Belleroche, 1882.


Laura Wheeler Warin, Anne Washinton Derry, 1927.


Andy Warhol, Marilyn, 1967.


Paul GauguinPortrait of Louis Roy, 1893.

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