Sunday, March 02, 2008

Crossing - In Progress - Step by Step

What follows is one day's work (day 3). About 7 hours. The function of today's work is a more established block-in, with relatively correct tone and middle values, but no detail, no brightest or darkest values, and no hue modulation. With a painting this size, I have to work in 1-day bite-size stages.

First step is to lay wet area a couple of inches around the figure, with the same tones I used before. I'll be working on the figures today, and I want to make sure I can work the edges. Also, I lay in the cabinet on the right side. See? I told you I'd balance the composition.

My palette is flake white, titanium white, unbleached titanium, yelow ochre, scarlet lake (which I didn't use today), alizaring crimson permanent, raw umber, ivory black. I premixed 5 values + highlight for the flesh (3 on top row and 3 on bottom). The medium is stand oil, damar, and turp with no drier.

First to go in is the hair. The hair is the darkest value, and everything is relative to that. It needs to be there so I can see correct values in the flesh. The hair was done in a warm dark and cooler light value, with a cool highlight going on last.

Second head. I'm working out how the figures will weave into each other. I don't necessarily want anyone to realize at first glance that it's the same person. I hope they'll think it's 2 girls, then slowly realize what's really going on.

This shot was take a little from the side to cut the glare. The flesh is just going on the girl on the right. I'm working the "big shapes" with those 5 values + highlight, trying to find the form without overmodeling. The darks are warmer than the lights. The lights are thicker than the darks, but you can still see the warm underpainting showing through in places, which I like a lot.

The reason I'm not bringing anything to full detail today is that the painting is so big, I want to make sure there aren't minor deviations in hue that can happen when you have to remix everything on a subsequent day. So by bringing up everything at once, I'm hoping to preserve the unity of the impression.

All the flesh has been blocked in now.

The dress will take several more layers. I want to keep the very triangular, graphic design sort of feel that it has, but much of that comes through the pattern in the flounce, so I may need a good bit of the detail to pull it off. I added the mirror of the bookcase, and blocked in the large shadows in the case on the far right.
That's it for today. More next weekend.

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