The real world and a painting are two totally different things.
You’re standing in front of the model, here lovely Marisa. Interesting costume, nice pose, that rug with the oriental design is great, what a wonderful group of objects by her feet, all shiny and shimmery…
You’ve been there before, you want to paint it all but….you are limited…..by your boundaries, the canvas. Those four edges restricting the world you can paint.
On a recent open studio session at SAS this is how I made those decisions.
I wanted to paint those silver vessels on the floor, I wanted to paint her shoes, but…
more importantly I based my composition on how small I was willing to make the head and where on the canvas boundary to place it comfortably, not too high, too low, too near the edge.
What I didn’t concern myself with yet was the actual color, bright green and magenta. Instead getting neutral value blocks in that filled the space well was what I was after.
Here I was thinking, how is the visual information going to enter my boundaries, how comfortable is it to explore the scene leading to her face? What I gave up was her legs and shoes, too much information where I don’t want you to look. The bright green and magenta just didn’t matter anymore.
Now that “things” are basically the way I want them, what is fighting my original intent? The dark edge next to her uplifted hand in the previous image was causing a tension, pushing against her, so it’s eliminated here. Also the dark shape in the lower area of her dress was distracting.
This is where it really gets fun, adding pattern, textures, refining her expression…and knowing when to stop!