Below is some basic information on painting photographs curing the 19th Century.
Colors for the Eyes.
Blue Eyes.—If they are light blue,, use thin Cobalt; shadow delicately with the same and a touch of Indigo; add White to Cobalt for the illuminated part of the iris—if it is not left sufficiently clear in the photograph. If they are dark blue, use a deeper tint of Cobalt, and shadow with Indigo. If "deeply, darkly, beautifully blue" (as are some children's eyes), the effect can be heightened by using French Blue; but carefully, as it is a powerful color.
Gray Eyes.—Define them delicately with India Ink and a tinge of Cobalt; if the eye has been photographed with sufficient distinctness, use Cobalt alone. If of a bluish-gray, use Indigo instead of the Cobalt. Add White for the illuminating. Gray eyes often change to yellow hazel as the person grows older, and are to be painted in this transition state by tinting the illuminated part slightly with Yellow Ochre, which will produce a greenish-yellow tone.
Light (or Yellow) Hazel Eyes.—Use Yellow Ochre,
slightly toned with Neutral Tint for the local color. Shadow with Vandyke Brown, and illuminate delicately with White added to the local.
Dark (or Brown) Hazel Eyes.—For the local color use Vandyke Brown, or if the print is dark, use Burnt Sienna. Shadow with Sepia. Illuminate with Burnt Umber and White, and sometimes Burnt Sienna and White.
Black Eyes.—Although all dark-colored eyes are generally called '' black," reference is now specially made to that description of eye which has its iris of so deep a brown as to be scarcely distinguishable from the pupil. They are peculiar to brunettes and people generally who are from tropical countries. Use Sepia and Vandyke Brown for the local color. Shadow with the same, mixed with Neutral Tint or India-Ink. Illuminate with Burnt Sienna and Chinese White.
Painting the Cheeks.
The nearest approach to the color of the cheeks will be found in a mixture of Pjnk Madder and Vermilion, either color prej dominating according to the subject. It should be kept in mind that children ought to have more Vermilion, adults more Pink Madder, and old people more of a purple tone,—this last being made by adding a little Cobalt to the former mixture, provided the photograph itself does not give a bluish tone.
Remember that the use of Carmine or Crimson Lake is not recommended for carnations; the one being too bright, the other too purple,—and both are fugitive. On the contrary, all the Madders are durable and in every respect better. Pink and Rose Madder seeming to differ only in intensity, may be used according to the option of the student . Either can be used for men, but Vermilion should be added for young women and children.
In applying the carnations, observe the grades of color and light on the cheek-bones, and do not lay out the cheek-tint in a circular, but in a triangular form, having its angles at the temple, lower jaw, and the nostrils. In no case should the carnations be washed on, but always stippled; although in very large pictures they can be hatched.
Painting the Chin.
In nature the chin being somewhat of a redder tone than the ( surrounding color, it is to be treated in like manner as the cheeks, though in a very slight degree; and care must be used not to commit the error of over-tinting.
Painting the Lips.
The upper lip being nearly always in shadow, is both darker and less bright in color than the lower lip. If the mouth in the photograph be not too dark, use Indian Red with a little Crimson Lake for the upper lip; if dark, use Pink or Rose Madder heightened with Vermilion. For the lower lip, wash' it first with thin Vermilion, or Orange Chrome and Rose Madder, and in .either case model and shade it afterwards by stippling with Pink Madder. Observe that in painting both lips, the more distant parts are to be less vivid in color.
The lips of children require more Vermilion, and those of I aged persons more Pink Madder,—not unfrequently approximating a slight purple tone.
The painting of the mouth is perhaps the most delicate and hazardous of all the features, on account of its variableness of expression. In defining the partition-line between the lips, the slightest deviation will alter its character and damage the portrait. Especially so at the corners of the mouth, wherein most of the expression lies. Hence it behooves the student to consider well its distinctive marks as photographed, before commencing, and work throughout with the utmost care.
As has been already observed respecting the carnations, it will be well to paint the lips with a. full tone of color, in order to provide against the unavoidable deterioration which time will effect.
Painting the Ears.
In painting the ear, which is semi-transparent, let the shadows be made warm and inclining to red. The inside of the ear should be colored with Pink Madder and Indian or Venetian Red, and the tips very lightly with Rose or Pink Madder alone.
The ear should always be well toned down, so that it will set back, and be wholly secondary to the more important lights. A large or prominent ear is considered ever an ugly, unsightly object: and as it is an organ without being a feature it should never be painted in a manner that would increase its conspicuity. If practicable, it is more judicious to partially cover it with the hair,—which can be done in most pictures without materially changing the drawing.
Painting the Neck and Bosom.
The general tint of the neck, as it will be noticed in nature, is much below the color of the face, and invariably of a grayer tone. The flesh-wash might therefore be somewhat reduced for the neck, and the pearly tints added to a more considerable degree. The clavicles or collar-bones peering through the flesh, are to be sometimes tinged slightly with Pink, but great care should be used to avoid rendering them too distinct and angular. The shadows of the bosom are usually of a bluish tint.
Although a well-curved neck, and round, plump shoulders do not by any means appear in the majority of photographs of ladies so taken, the colorist may very safely assume the privilege of correcting the drawing of his picture, so as to produce these desirable elements of physical beauty. Few ladies will object to any roundness of the neck or graceful droop of the shoulders which it may be possible for the artist to bestow on their pictures. Some delicate touches of Pink Madder can be put on the extreme point of the shoulders; whilst Indian Red and Cobalt will serve to shadow the flesh around the arm-pit.
Painting the Arms and Hands.
The foregoing remarks apply somewhat to the painting of the arms, although the lower arm often partakes of a very slight purple hue. Indian Red alone can be used for the first tints, working over them, when necessary, with Blue; and observing the reflected lights, which are always to be kept warm. The elbows should be tinted with Pink Madder, but delicately; and any disagreeable angularity rounded off—as before observed.
The Hands in most photographs, by reason of their distance from the focus-point of the camera (generally directed to the face), are disagreeably enlarged; and in some cases partially shadowed. For these reasons it is often desirable to cut them down, shorten the fingers, cover them with thin drapery, or '' paint them out" entirely.
When the division-lines of the fingers are light or somewhat indistinct they may be drawn with Brown Madder, or Sepia and Crimson Lake. If already rather dark, use Light Red or Burnt Sienna.
The tips of the fingers, the knuckles, and the outside of the hands are more rosy than the other parts, and require to be hatched with a little Pink Madder. Before doing this, however, it may be advantageous to rub out the flesh-wash a little in these particular parts; and when the hands are perfectly flat— as in old copies—and without definition and modelling, this rubbing out of a portion of the flesh-wash assists very greatly the raised appearance of the knuckles, and other lights.
A liberal use of Cobalt in the hands is recommended—particularly for those of women and children—in order to attain clearness and the appearance of veins. This effect is also more necessary tor female hands, the skin of which is intended to appear very fair and transparent.
The general tone of color in the hands should be very much below that of the face (except when the head rests upon one of them), so that they shall not first attract the beholder's eye, which ought always to be drawn involuntarily to the face,—the portrait!
Source: How to Paint Photographs in Water Colors and in Oil ©1878