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A Quick ‘How Far We Can Go’ Progress Report…

Well, it’s been ‘another few days’, and the underpainting is still not finished. My attention for the past week or so has been split between work on this painting and various other projects, not the least of which was installing ‘The Triumph of Daedalus Over Fate and Futility’ in its new home. However, while progress has been a little slower than I had anticipated, there has still been progress!

The once disembodied head and right hand are now much more comfortable attached to a torso and one leg, for example, and I also was able to refine some areas of the face although those refinements might not be readily apparent on a computer screen. Notably, out young astronaut is still missing one leg, but enough of her is finished for the overall lighting scheme to be apparent, and so far, I think it’s working.  But it’s tricky to get a good photo because the dark, wet paint is so glossy. There is a trade-off between lighting the painting from above which creates fewer reflections but yields a dramatic drop-off of light from top to bottom, and head-on lighting which is more even across the painting but creates so many reflections as to make the image almost indecipherable. Unfortunately, the camera tends to exaggerate both effects, but I have found that it’s easier to ignore the vertical light drop-off if you can see the painting in the context of its immediate surroundings (as you do when you view a painting in person). So, rather than crop right up to the edge of the painting in this progress shot, I’m including the easel and some of the studio wall in the background.

By |2018-09-06T21:41:37+00:00January 30th, 2018|Art Theory, Painting Progress|4 Comments


  1. Roy February 15, 2018 at 9:43 pm - Reply


    Another painting that’s coming along very nicely! I really enjoy seeing the steps in your process, very informative! I was wondering though, if you don’t mind me asking, what colors do you use in your underpainting stage? Is it the traditional mixture of raw umber and white to get the grays? Can’t wait to see more!

    • Bryan February 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Roy! For this painting, the underpainting was done in grays mixed from a custom black and Titanium White. The Black was mixed from roughly 3 parts Ivory Black and 1 part Winsor Newton Burnt Sienna (I mention the brand because WN’s burnt sienna is a different pigment than some manufactures, PR101 instead of PBR7). The Burnt Sienna helps balance the bluish tones in the Ivory Black.

  2. Roy February 23, 2018 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Thanks Bryan! Would you say that mixture (3 parts Ivory Black and 1 part Burnt Sienna) is typical for your underpaintings, or does it change from painting to painting based on subject matter? Thanks again for the reply! You have a very informative Blog, it’s very helpful for the technical side of painting.

    • Bryan February 24, 2018 at 12:13 am - Reply

      It’s become the standard. It’s also the same string I use for my neutrals when painting in color too.
      My pleasure, Roy! I’m glad it’s been helpful to you!

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