Today we are painting the final layers of the painting. So if you wanted to add some expressive brush marks, today is the day. By now we have figured out the values of our painting: we know where the lights and darks are, we know what we want to stay dark and what areas need to stay light. We also know our colour map: we know which colours go where and how the overall composition is going to work.
We have a clear image in our mind’s eye of what we want our final painting to look like. Today we can start refining our ‘cartoon’ shapes. We can make that leg a bit more 3-dimensional by making the transitions a bit softer and smoother. We can adjust that blob on my model’s face and turn it into glasses. We can tack the background and try and figure out how we are going to paint it.
The skeleton and scaffolding stands. The walls are up. The structure is sound. The roof is on. Now get creative and start painting your figure YOUR WAY – keeping in mind everything you have learned about value and colour in the past couple of days. Make the skin tones hyper realistic or, alternatively, put in some juicy brush marks. You CAN now, because you know what value and what colour to choose.
Turn the flat shapes into form: find the smaller shapes within it. The leg was painted in a single colour. Now you can look inside it, and find the warmer and cooler areas, the lighter and darker areas inside it. For me, the lower leg, for example, has a highlight running near the top, the shape then turns darker below, and a little bit of cool reflected light hits the calf before it goes very dark. The top of the lower leg (above the highlight) is of a nice medium skin colour. The value of that skin colour is very close to the value of the pebbles behind her. So the value difference between the lower leg and the background is very small.
Underneath the legs there is a strong contrast area: the darker side of the legs contrast sharply with the brighter pebbles. Also note the triangle shape the legs make, echoed by the overall shape of the figure, and the diagonals in the wooded background.
Today you can really follow your own creative preferences. You can refine and find detail. Or you can work on 3-dimensional shape. I chose to focus on value and colour. I find the reference image a little dull: there is no strong light and dark or colour. If I push the colour in the painting, things might liven up a bit. To enhance the colour and reduce the contrast overall. I will let my painting rely on colour and less on value.
I am experimenting with how to paint the pebbly beach and the woody background. I am trying out things and brushing them out again, until I find a method that I like. The journey of exploration is half the fun of the painting process!
I hope you enjoy exploring, refining and experimenting too.