Well, it took considerably longer than I thought it would, but all the flesh tones on the male champion are finally finished. Actually, these two paintings as a whole are taking much longer than usual to complete, mostly because I’ve never put so much work into the accuracy of the flesh tones in a painting before. This seemed like a good project to crank it up to 11 on the figures, since there will be almost no work to the backgrounds at all, but I am really surprised how much more work it has involved. I have to say though…I’m really pleased with the results.
Most of the work on the entire project has gone into the torso of the male champion. Obviously the bare chest meant more skin to paint overall, but the complexity and subtlety of the veins and muscle striations, even though I did try to selectively simplify both, really kicked it up a notch. After a full day of focusing on subtleties of value and chroma, I actually found myself absentmindedly observing the colors of reflected light and shadow in everything around me to a bizarre degree for several hours. I must have seemed like a complete space cadet. Overall, I think it was an amazing scholastic exercise. Fortunately, I didn’t actually dream about painting veins the following nights.
As with the female champion, the drop off of light across the figure meant that the legs would be lit far less than the upper body resulting in comparatively dark values and much lower contrast. The effect is a little less extreme in this case because of the position of the torch on the shadow side of the figure which provided a little reflected light on the left hand side. When the figures are side by side, as you’ll see in a moment, the effect is continuous and makes a lot more sense…as was my intention.
Here’s a shot of the full male champion canvas with all the flesh tones complete. Pardon the glare on the face and canvas toward the top. The canvas there is much glossier thanks to the light coat of re-touch varnish I applied to help me match up the colors when I picked up work on the torso, blending up to the already-completed left pectoral muscle.
Finally, here is a shot of both canvasses side by side with all the flesh tones painted. If you can ignore the missing drapery and lack of context that will come from finished background tones and the glow of the torches, you can see that the play of light across the figures is actually pretty consistent. Keep in mind, the male figure is physically closer to the main light source making the lightest lights there brighter and the contrast a little more marked… and there are two torches between the figures adding illumination to the shadow side of the male figure but not the female. This is why the shadow side of the female figure is so deep in shadow.
The next step is to paint the drapery on both figures. Hopefully it goes a little faster than the rest of the paintings so far…