As with all of my figures, everything begins with the flesh and this figure is no exception. It has been 15 years since the last time I had to paint African flesh tones so a bit of a refresher was required before starting. In those fifteen years my painting style and technique have changed as well so this has been quite a new and challenging project to this point.
I began with a basic mix of Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, a bit of Yellow Ochre and Prussian Blue added to darken the mix and cool the tones a bit. This was applied overall and the excess removed with a soft brush. Prussian Blue and Burnt Umber were mixed and applied to shadow areas and blended. Titanium White with a bit of Yellow Ochre added was used to start lifting the highlights. This produced the initial work that you see in the next two photos.
Once dry, further shadows were worked with a mixture of Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue used as a thin glaze. Layering thin glazes tend to begin to dull the finish as they dry. This contributes greatly to a more realistic finish for flesh with the use of oils. Not to flat and not to shiny, just right. Again after drying, further highlights were picked up using Titanium White glazes.
A touch of Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Umber in the lips and a few hot spots of white on the lips, nose, chin and neck muscles set the final tones.
Additional work was done on the post with light washes of Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown, Mars Black (in that order) to draw out the graining of the wood and aging the post. Additionally some initial tonal work was done on the figure's shoes and the sand.