Before I did any more work with the figure, I needed to get the background squared away, otherwise (as noted in our last chapter) we could face trouble in the detailing.
I decided I wanted to keep the shelves in the background, though really only in position; I’ll redo them as I like. The original photograph just seemed too claustrophobic. Anyway. First, masking tape:
Then paint over the masking tape:
Here’s an illustration of why “Background First – Figure Last” is a good policy. I can paint up to a certain point with a large brush.
Then I have to carefully move in with smaller brushes so I can get up to the side of her face.
I didn’t like the solid black (raw umber) so I thought I’d try marbling with some red and white veins.
Finally, the tape is removed:
What we have above are shelf fronts, without any dimension to them. So lets add some more surfaces for them. More tape, just along the bottom edge the top shelf, and the top edge of the bottom shelf.
And the tape is removed. It’s hard to see below because the paint is reflecting a lot of light, but the middle shelf looks kind of silly without any other surfaces.
Now let’s add some shadows beneath the shelves, and just for fun, let’s paint in the counter top as well:
More marbling, the middle shelf has been given a bit of dimensionality, and her arm is now reflected in the countertop. I took the picture below at a more severe angle to try and minimize the glare from the paint:
The above was one evening’s work. Fortunately, raw umber dries pretty rapidly so I could start again the next night.
Now let’s try and give some more depth to the background. I want to give the impression that the wall behind her is actually the wall to her side, continuing back. So we’ll start with some tape:
Painting over the tape to give the red a more even look. I’ve also covered up the outlining around her head.
Well, the one side looks okay, so let’s see if we can make that continue. What I’m really after is the appearance of a series of open-back shelves going back from her, like those in a library.
And here’s what we’re left with after two evening’s work.
Red and white take a fairly long time to dry, so we’ll leave this as is for a couple of days. At that point we’ll let you know what transpires. Many thanks for your patronage.
It’s looking good to me. Especially the arms and the neck. I wish I was that good. The hands I draw look terrible.
Nice work. I really appreciate the step by step approach – it lends greater appreciation to the finished piece.
I thought it looked good before, yet you keep improving with every post. Can’t wait to see the final product.
I love the progress, B. C. I am just so wow’d by how this is developing.
Thank you all for your compliments and encouragement. I truly appreciate it in these dark time.
And damn, red takes a long time to dry. The next installment will be…delayed.
Very interesting. Looks like you’re making lots of progress with this piece!
Seeing your methodology only reinforces my belief that no two painters paint alike.