This was the painting when I started last night:
And this is the painting NOW:
Eeee! It's starting to look like an actual painting now. It's amazing what background color can do for you, huh? It drives my wife nuts that I take forever to do my backgrounds. To him it's so backward. And I'd agree, it does make more sense to lay down a full background and then build up on it but I just have this hang up about all the color UNDER the figures, like will it make it harder to get the right color in the end if I have to work to cover up some base color that's wonky? Dumb, I know, but that's just how my brain works.
Ok, now to see what the goal is:
I can see the head still has a bit of a forward slant to it. The front corner needs to be nipped down a bit (the negative space between the shoulder and the chin area needs to be bigger--on the left side of the pic--right side is looking somewhat ok).
And holy crap, what a difference that little splash of yellow on the eye makes. It's nowhere near the right shade or any of that but just having it there really helps set the figures on the canvas and point out what's going well and what's still way off (it looks like there needs to be more space between the eye and the mouth--I need to move the eye up on the face a lot--it really is very close to the seam at the top of the head).
Getting the temporary facial features (Timothy's) off helps, too. Those eyes weren't situated very well at all and it was distorting how I viewed the rest of the painting. With them gone I can focus more on the big picture (shape of head, etc). The head still is a little off along that severe down slope (on the left side). Getting all the "erased" marks (where I had to cover up dark sketchy lines with white paint) helps a lot, too. With the "mistakes" more hidden I can better focus on what still needs done.
The gray shades are coming along well, too. The light is getting light enough. In fact, it might be a little too light right now (but I need to work all the shades before I delcare it officially "too light").
I've said it before and I'll say it again. These progress reports are really helping my painting overall. The amount of cursing I'm doing with this painting (versus "Baby Elephant Walk") is dramatic. The only muttered curses I've indulged in this time around are for legit reasons (like accidentally smearing something) and not merely temper tantrums (I had so many "this sucks, I suck, I hate everything" tantrums with "Baby Elephant Walk" it was downright pathetic and a bit embarrassing--part of it is my general childishness and part is I think "Baby Elephant Walk" may have been a bit too lofty of a goal for my skill set--so I was never going to get exactly what I had envisioned and it took me a long time to come to terms with that).
I'm starting to think about my NEXT painting, too. I thought I wanted to do robot portraits (on oval canvases) but I'm re-thinking that. I still want to work with oval canvases (just because) but I think I need to do something more abstract for my next piece. I'm thinking of taking one of my existing paintings (I think "Jackie and Xerxes") and making an abstract version of it. Kind of like deconstructing it. My wife is doing an abstract painting like that now and it looks so FUN.
But first things first. "Kitty Up" (I'm really enjoying this painting so much)