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Art theory Faces Oil Painting Painting Portrait

Color Boot Camp Part II: Saturation Study #1: Low Saturation

Color Boot Camp: SATURATION. Overall Low Saturation, Study 2, 11x14" oil
Color Boot Camp: Saturation. Overall LOW Saturation, Study 1 v.2, 11×14″ oil on Dura-Lar

In each of Bill Perkins’ New Masters Academy Color Boot Camp courses, he introduces one aspect of color (e.g. Value, Saturation, Complements, Temperature), demonstrates and explains further with a quick oil study of the same model in different color/lighting situations. I tried this one twice (second version above, first below) because even though he emphasizes these assignments are NOT meant to be portraits, I’m as interested in learning to capture a likeness as I am color. I did a better job on the positioning of her head and getting a likeness in the second one, above. (See bottom of post for reference photo and teacher’s rendition.)

Color Boot Camp: SATURATION. Overall Low Saturation
Color Boot Camp: SATURATION. Overall Low Saturation, Study 1 v1

Mr. Perkins uses the concepts of Major Key and Minor Key for each color topic. In Saturation, the Major Key describes the Level of saturation—how intensely saturated the colors are in the greater proportion of the image. The Minor Key represents the Range of contrast between neutral gray and the most saturated color in the image. This first study in saturation is supposed to represent a Low Major and Minor Key.

I was confused at first by how highly saturated the model’s face seemed to be with her very rosy cheeks and golden skin. But after getting some valuable feedback from the teacher, I now understand that the Major Key is Low because the proportion of saturated color (her cheeks) to neutral areas (the rest of the painting) is small; and the Minor Key is Low because the range of saturation from neutral to the moderately-saturated pink in her cheeks is also fairly low.

Below are the photo reference, my paintings,  and the teacher’s study. He painted her skin tones much darker than I did. Maybe I need more study with value?  I can see how I could have gone a little darker but not as dark as he did. Coming up next, Study 2 with very saturated High Major and Minor Keys; just the opposite of this one.