Friday, November 19, 2010


I was a mass of indecision in trying to figure out the color for the background. I wanted it lighter in value than the last skull painting, to allow the chimps arm to show up in the upper right corner.

I went back and forth, tried to mix a gray that I used on a past painting. Couldn't do it for some reason, and of course I had not written down the color mixture that I used. So I tried burnt umber, ultramarine blue and aliz crimson plus white. Used raw sienna as the "yellow" for the lighter gray area at the top. There is a more violet shift in the gray than is shown in the photo above.

This can all go out the window when I start blocking in the skull. It's amazing how the appearance of surrounding color changes when placed next to another. What I will probably do is make sure that some of the shadow in the skull includes some hues from the background, like reflected backlight. That helps to bring a unity to the entire painting.

I told Jude that I was just a mass of indecision working on the painting today. I felt like I was making some kind of decision every five seconds. She then made an interesting remark: "maybe that is why some painters stick to a "formula" and the paintings start to really look uniform. " I told her I couldn't do that for long stretches. Even those little conjoined twins had differences in the background. I suppose I could crank out paintings faster if I stuck with the same background on all the skulls, but I like the differences in each one.

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