This subject was a challenge in values. My goal was to keep the foreground in shadow, making it dark enough to read “shadow” while light enough so that some subtle color interactions would be visible. Staying on “the lighter side of dark” was where I wanted to be.
When holding things together is one of the major concerns, I like to paint a harmonizing tone on the canvas, in this case it’s a warm gray mixture of Viridian Green, Permanent Rose, Cobalt blue, Cadmium Yellow and White.
After the whole canvas was covered I started wiping back some simple lines to get my bearings. This works so much better for me than a line drawing. An accurate drawing in the beginning has given me a false sense of security in the past. As the painting progresses, suppressing some areas while exaggerating others for the good of the image, renders the accurate drawing visually inaccurate.
The wiping away approach is more instinctive and flexible, looking at the whole for what the painting needs. It almost feels like sculpting, carving out blocks of color.
Beginning to rough in the big masses. Keeping the values a little on the lighter side, it’s so easy to go darker and darker, before you know it, you’re digging out of the abyss of a too dark painting.
Working around the painting, developing more areas, I can see the need for more darks now, because things don’t look grounded enough. I played with bringing the red fan shape to the right also, but don’t like it, now I have a symmetrical “bulls eye” in the middle of the painting.
And finally; taking the light in the window as high value as I could while still being able to get a blue tint, while getting a solid feel in the foreground with heavier paint and some darker accents.