Friday at SAS we had a lovely model with a complex setup. Her outfit was shocking orange and bright white, silver sequins, ruffles, three large hoops woven in and out of her arms.
A wonderful costume for her performance on stage but how can it transfer to a painting? I begin by asking the question
How do I create harmony ?
Minimize the colors, minimize the shapes, this means zooming in on a selected area which will create fewer shapes.
O.K. now I have a direction to take. Since there was a lot of orange in the scene I chose burnt sienna, this will give me a large range of values. Cadmium orange will be good for a strong shot of color in the midtone range. Cadmium red seemed a good choice for the duller mid to dark values (when mixed with white, it will actually appear grayish compared to the oranges.)
As I took this further some things were gained, others lost.
Back in the studio, minus the model, plus a reference photo I have more questions, which usually start with…
If I saw a better version of this painting what would it look like?
It would have more interplay between the background and foreground, there is too much separation in this image. It would also have a livelier mood, more expressive brushwork. More texture, shine v/s dull, smooth v/s rough. And last but not least check the drawing for proportion errors.
In short how can I make this more of what I want, push it without breaking it!