It’s been a while since the last step, but there’s a good reason. Both paintings needed only the torches and the simple backgrounds to be completed, which was pretty straight forward and quick work. However, in order to get good images of the finished paintings I had to let both pieces dry completely (the straight titanium white in the brightest areas of drapery and the torches took a couple weeks to dry),and apply a light coat of varnish to bring back the depth of color (many darker colors, especially ivory black and the earth tones in the shadows and hair are matte when dry and appear much lighter than when wet). The gloss varnish looks great, but reflects a lot of light off of the canvas texture which, although easily ignored by your eye when viewing a painting in person, really shows up in photos. To get a good final image, I generally have a professional photographer with high end equipment do the job for me. The process involves evenly lighting the piece from several directions with polarized lights and taking the photos with a polarized filter on the camera. It’s not tedious work, but it’s a busy time of year for my photographer, and I had a lot of people in line ahead of me.
I finally have the results back, and here they are:
The backgrounds, although extremely simple, still serve the important function of giving context to the dynamic lighting on the figures. I based the position of the shadows and the drop off of light in the backgrounds on the reference photos. The two paintings, although stand alone compositions, were designed together, and the lighting is consistent across them if the male champion is on the right. Here’s a combo-image to show what I mean:
I’ve been referring to these figures as ‘The Champions’, and they were inspired by the incredible physical and mental skill the athletes at the Olympic Games displayed. But the theme has more to do with the triumph of the human spirit in more general, terms. So, for final titles, I’m calling the paintings ‘Triumph of Man’ and ‘Triumph of Woman’.
For simple, single-figure compositions, and given their smaller size (14X28 inches each), a lot of work went into each of these paintings…but I think it was well worth it, and I’m really pleased with the way they turned out. Thanks for following along throughout the process, and as always, I encourage you to write in with your questions and comments.