I just completed this commission, The Apotheosis of Love, on the occasion of a wedding, and my patrons loved it. It went on a plane to Boston:
Here it is, framed, with brass title:
I especially addressed the front foot–I studied the subtle shadows that make it work–or not. In the first foot picture below, the toes, nails, and veins still need completion, but the most important area that needed altering was on the top front. It was just slightly too dark–not even half a value–but what a huge difference it made when I lightened it ever-so-slightly! I am attaching a “before and after,” with the original model, just so you can see what I mean. Here is the model:
Here, the top front half looks flattened and scooped like a spoon because its value is too dark, even though I followed the model:
and here is the corrected version:
Yes, the overall tone of the pictures are different because one was taken at night, but it is the VALUE difference that counts. The foot, with toes, nails, and veins, is completed in the second picture. I changed nothing on the drawing itself. Just the slight value change is all that mattered.
I will eventually come up with a step-by-step to share, but even then, it is mostly just a lot of work, time, and careful observation, stepping back six feet and comparing it to the model, squinting, looking at it through a mirror–you have to pull out all the tricks! And even when you think you’ve nailed the drawing and the underpainting, the slightest color shift matters, even when the color values you are applying match the value of the underpainting perfectly.
Regarding the importance of slight color shifts, I have a theory that I can find no information about. Perhaps it already has a name, but I am going to call it something like “How Color Shifts Value Perception.” I wonder if anyone else has observed this phenomenon? Have you? It would probably be a boring topic for anyone but an artist.
I’m designing another painting that has a tight time limit for completion. My Aunt Goldie will be 95 years old in July, and I want to do a painting of her, quilting, since she has been an award-winning quilter all her life. I have the references, we’re picking up the precut board tomorrow, and I’m doing a square format (24″ x 24″). This is one of those rare occasions when traditional formats will not work, due to the length of the quilt frame in relation to her body. I hope to have the drawing finished by the end of next week. I’ll post it when I can. There is only one hand showing in the reference, complete with thimble and needle, so it won’t be a good candidate this time for my step-by-step model.
Giclée prints from The Apotheosis of Love will be available soon, and I will write more on its conception in a later post.
Best wishes to you,