I have started on a new portrait commission and wanted to share the first couple of photos of how the painting is developing. After a very long time of doing a grey scale underpainting, I decided that this painting is well suited for that purpose. The reference photo the client gave had this little boy model in a living room, so I needed to find a backdrop that would better fit with his costume.
There are many things in this photo that are not suited for a painting other than the background. For example the plastic boots and the oversized glove. Large items like this when painted just look like big dark blobs that lack definition. To solve this the boots had to be redrawn. I also thought a shield might work in place of the glove. I added the shield in such a way that it seems the boy is holding it.
I told my client that space on a canvas is worth gold, in other words, all the space possible needs to be devoted to the child and not the background or props. Therefore I have shortened the sword and was thereby able to make the figure much larger as before.
Sine the boy is wearing a green and brown costume and is standing in a green and brown forest, the next challenge was to figure out a way to make the figure stand out. That's where the monochrome underpainting is extremely helpful. The grey scale allows me to pick the right green tones and highlights to create that realistic looking setting.
There is much more to do, so off to the easel I go.