Well, I finally have all the grey tones for this portrait blocked in. If this would be a two-tone painting, I would proceed to add more and more detail and make sure that all the values are as close to the reference photo as needed. But like I mentioned before at this stage of this painting all I am really interested in is how the shapes are relating to each other. Right now the face of the rider is very abstract looking, yet all main features and most importantly the heads shape are in place. Did you know that our brain will help us recognize who a person is often just by the shape of the head?
Already you can see how rider and horse are taking up physical space in the foreground. The fence in the middle ground acts like a visual barrier, which unconsciously directs the viewers gaze to stay in the foreground. The background of trees and shrubbery are elements to fill the visual space, but most importantly will help me really bring the rider up to the pictures foreground. The trick of course is to make sure that whatever greens and browns are used do not jump over into the value scale of the foreground, because that would weaken the composition considerably. When painting I am constantly asking myself what the relationship between adjacent shapes are. I also tend to stay lighter in my painting than the actual reference calls for. My darkest black value and my lightest white are applied towards the very end of the coloring process. Used sparingly they have more of a dramatic effect than when added in way to early in the painting.
I will allow the painting to dry for a day before continuing with the first color layer. It is already 5PM, but there is enough daylight to allow me to draw out my next portrait commission of a little Shih Tzu called “Gigi”.
Click here to see how I started this painting.