Oil Portrait Painting Tips 4
Lighting your Oil Portrait Model
Lighting your oil portrait subject with artificial light is fundamentally the same whether you work from life or photos. When you use photos, there are two important rules to follow:
Make sure the Kelvin temperature of your light source matches your film for the best color results. Do not use a flash attached to your camera. Most electronic flash lights, unless softened by umbrellas, are too harsh. When skin tones are normal, the shadows will be inky black.
The classic way to light the model is at an angle of about forty-five degrees from the centerline of the face, and from slightly above the model's head. This lighting position produces a beautiful triangle of light on the cheek away from the light source.
In direct sunlight place your subject perpendicular to the sun, and rotate them slowly away from the light, just far enough so that they are no longer squinting. The angle of the sun about two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset will mimic the indoor light producing the "light triangle." Earlier and later, the angles of shadows become more horizontal. Remember, the color of daylight is changing, too.