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Step Two

four-reading-2

At this point, I’ve jumped the gun a little.  The proper procedure would be to work all over the painting, going from general to specific.  I did an underpainting of the entire painting, but I’ve done this painting several times (covered it up or threw it away) and have struggled the most with the two figures on the left.  So I decided to work on them first and to completion to make certain I can get them right this time.  After that I’ll be much more comfortable with the rest of the painting.

After doing the underpainting, I laid in the darkest part of the figure on the far left.  I ended up with mainly three areas of color on top of the underpainting.  The darkest part of the boy’s face is done with Raw Umber.  The lightest area of his face was done by mixing Winsor Yellow and Burnt Sienna for an orangey light color.  I added a smidge of white.  I put in a thin line of this color along the edge of his face.  In between those two layers I used Burnt Sienna mixed with a little of the Winsor Yellow and laid that in.  The next step was to smooth  the transitions between the three areas of color.  This was the most difficult part so far, because those highlights and shadows are what say this boy is this boy and no other.  I roughed in some shadows on his nose and his mouth and eyebrow.  Today I worked on the painting some more and added subtle small areas of yellow into the light areas and added some violet into the shadows.  I don’t like flat color.  I normally do my color mixing on the paper or canvas.  In this case i found that difficult to do.  The children’s faces are so smooth and flawless that having unblended areas aged them.

I’m very pleased with how the painting is coming along.  I look forward to working on it more.  I wanted to work this evening, but I’m a little tired and don’t want to paint when I’m tired.  So tomorrow will have to do.  I’m not sure whether I’ll work on smoothing and softening the girl’s face or whether I’ll start work on the boy’s clothing.  Knowing me, I’ll probably work on the girl.

The background is Raw Umber.  I tried adding in some other colors, but it wasn’t coming out right, so I decided to leave that for another time.  I have some ideas for it.  I think I want that to be the last thing I do.  For now the dark background really helps me see my contrasts.  Value contrast is my favorite thing about painting.  So let’s see how it goes.

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