This panel represented a few challenges mostly due to the very dark shadow of the man’s gray/black pants leg. It’s a strong element, front-and-center, commanding attention. So I wanted to represent it accurately, but also I wanted to depict enough other dark accents surrounding it to encourage the circulation of light (or lack thereof). The ring and the shadow of my linen coat work rather well for that. But is it enough? The shadow is strong and also uniform. So I still may try to introduce some scumbled detail into those deepest leg-shadows after this level dries.
However, that is or will be complicated by another, technical complication. After I had started laying in some very dark gray pigment into the medium/glaze (in the pants leg), I found that the paint dried almost immediately (!) – too quickly to manipulate. In painter’s parlance this is called “sinking in”. This happens when the ground is too absorbent. In this case, I think the absorbency was caused by the combination of the linen fabric that I had glued onto the HDF panel as part of my substrate preparation as well as the siccative nature of the particular pigment (Payne’s Gray) that I had used in that area. “Sinking in” is remedied by a localized treatment of retouch varnish, which I applied before reworking that area yesterday. Though improved, when this area thoroughly dries I still may try to supply more balancing nuance (the scumble mentioned above). However, I am not dissatisfied with the result. I think the treatment of the linen jacket, the tile work upper left, the plaster wall lower left as well as the ringed fingers are delicious. So these are the comments of the-always-critical-chef.
BTW: sorry for the glare – that’s only in the photograph – not the image.
Full description of the whole project here. Write up on the mixed technique here.