Here is the progress so far with the first painting in my teen series. Initially I worked on some sketches using my reference photo to make some composition changes. I have included her hand on the right: No need to chop her off at the wrist. Since the bench provides such a strong directional line into the painting, I like how the direction of the path then counterbalances that movement back in the opposite direction. In the reference photo, I don’t like the tree behind her head, so I removed it and placed another tree in the distance and to the right. My thought is that the dark from the bench will lead to the dark on the ground and then follow up the tree. I plan to arch a shape of dark leaves over and around on the top left, in effect, completing that circle of dark which started with the bench. Hopefully this all leads your eye to the focal point of her face. I am not positive at this point if this is the answer, but I will follow my thought process and see how it works.
Then it was time to paint. I transferred my sketch to my canvas with charcoal and then created a simple under painting using yellow ochre and burnt umber. This helps establish a rough drawing as well as starts to set up the values. As I begin to add the color on top of the under painting, I am continually correcting any drawing issues.
One of my biggest challenges in this painting is going to be her jacket. How do I add enough detail to describe the jacket without getting caught up in every fold, wrinkle and pleat? Arrgh!!!! Along this same thought process, I have decided not to make the bench a perforated metal like the one she was sitting on. Too much detail where it’s not needed and would probably attract too much of your eye. Keep it simple!