I’ve added the first flesh-tone layer to the Mother. She’s looking a little sallow and pale at present, but I have several layers to go. One thing I am now certain of though- I must have a live model with the correct skin color in the studio before I go farther. Since the original model is far too pale for what I want I’ll have to find someone else.
In the meantime I’ll be working out the rest of the painting. I started in on the real colors for the blanket and I’m loving how that is coming along. I love the blue showing through. The blanket I’m using is a plaid pattern, mainly grey with rust and blue threads running through it. The strips will be coming along soon. The palette for almost the entire painting is browns and greys and blues. The exception is going to be the Mother. She’ll have a properly red shirt and also much more warmth and color to her face, and even a warmer blue on her pants. I’m afraid the other figure will be a bit on the washed-out side.
If anyone is wondering about her hair, this is a placeholder. She’ll have rich dark-brown slightly curly hair with a little redness to it and it will take up more space. It’s best to do hair much later on in a painting like this so that it can lay on top of the background.
The objects in the alley are presenting interesting problems. What I want visually, as it turns out is not what would be strictly true in terms of scale. The mother especially is dwarfing all other objects. Part of me wrestles against a logical part that wants to make everything in proper perspective and scale (something I’ve taught a course on!). Every time I try out proper scale though, it takes too much away from the figures. I do want them a little unnatural. They should be larger than life. So I’m now relaxing into that. It means that the general scale of things in the background is not consistent, but that objects are the size that makes visual and symbolic sense for the piece. I suppose in that I’m going a little bit Medieval (a time in art where figures were sized by importance and perspective jumped around wildly).
What I wanted out of the alleyway besides the reference to homelessness was both a triangle shape and a trap… but with a possibility for exit.
I’m not actually ready to show you the painting as a whole. At this moment it is imbalanced. I’ll show you a slice of it…