Sometimes I wonder what to talk about but I'm so excited to post a visual that I go ahead and post and leave it in "draft" stage before publishing. I posted a version of this last night and came back this morning to check my masterpiece and couldn't live with it, so out in the studio with my pjs on (and before coffee) working again on little areas where my eyes stuttered and were "bugged" by shapes and colors. I spent more time working on the face getting more bone structure going on in the lit side of the face. I added a blue purple component to balance out the orange and the green and tried to create more "shoulder." I find it difficult sometimes to get the roll of the shoulder especially when the figure is backlit. My first inclination is to go straight for the light on the turn of the shoulder and what appears dark behind it is simply too stark. This morning I blurred out those edges and brought more of the golden greens into the shoulder and more of the dress into the back ground and then redefined the shoulder. I may still work more on bringing the front of her chest forward with more saturated color.
My first inclination when approaching a painting is to ram pure color into it. Later , when I view it after having had some "time off," it ends up looking too garish.. Then the marvelous nifty neutrals come to my rescue. I started installing them in and around all the foliage in the background and it helped a great deal to give air and relief to the background. I guess the long and short of it is that it takes a few go rounds to come to the place in time when it is pronounced done. There's something about living with a painting for a time period. I might even go so far as to say that as long as they are in my line of sight they are never done. I have painted more than 4000 paintings in my life and I can only think of perhaps, 4, that I was really satisfied were done, as in DONE, wouldn't touch them again. Pierre Bonnard, I read, had a certain painting hanging in his room. He used to paint directly on canvas stapled or affixed in some way to the wall but not stretched. It was the day of his death and there was a certain leaf on a peach tree in the painting that was agitating his enjoyment of viewing it. He struggled, got up, went over and touched it with some color, went back to bed, and later that day died, met his maker, and passed away. Discontent is a by product or side effect of painting and has to be tolerated, respected, and given accommodation, I suspect.
Post script: I should remember the nifty neutrals and value and treasure the monotony of routine in the midst of dramatic times.