Getting Blonde

Until you try to recreate that perfect golden haired subject, you may not realize just how difficult it is to achieve something that doesn’t resemble a child’s self-portrait in yellow crayon. 

It’s not just about using wheaten colors on your palette.  You’ll want to include a green, viridian is a good choice, and you might consider a little blue and crimson.  Blond hair is very reflective, picking up the colors of surfaces close to it.  Here is an example of a quick alla prima portrait by Louis Smith – showing terrific use of color in portraying the unique qualities of blond hair:

Anna Rose Bain also has a list of go-to colors for her blond palette, as well as some very nice illustrations of both cool and warm blondes.  Find them here: 

Discovering colors hidden in plain sight is one of the many joys (and sometimes frustrations) of oil painting.  I hope you find these examples as helpful as I have!


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