Going over the reference photos I have from previous shoots, I kept coming back to this one. It has many of the things I like in a subject, a reflective mood and a simple composition with movement, but like many photos, it has it’s problems or areas of concern.
One is the left arm, the way it follows the bend of the picture at the lower corner makes a tangent that pulls my eye to the corner in an uncomfortable way. So I will have to deal with that arm, how, I don’t know right now. The background doesn’t add anything to the scene so I’m going to simplify it, making the pyramid shape of the girl even more obvious.
Using a limited palette of yellow ochre, cad red light, cad red medium and ivory black I start roughing the image in, not going any further on the face until I’m sure it is where I want it. There’s nothing worse than spending a long time on an area only to find out it needs to be totally wiped out because it’s in the wrong place. In a painting like this I’m not sure what the colors will be, so I’m going to follow what I see in the subject until a direction is obvious to me, right now it’s warm gold flesh with warm greens.
By this time a color shift toward violet is happening, and I’m starting to get a feel for what I’m going to do with that left arm, having it straight is a much better lead in, it just flows better. Her dress is going to get fuller and cover the legs, which were adding too many lines going in directions that kept the movement from being fluid.
Adjustments here and there and it’s done. Always helps to get away from the painting for a couple days before the final work.