The more I work on this painting, the more fun I’m having with it.
I’ve finished work on the underpainting, and so far, the trickiest thing about it has been remembering that I’ll be painting over the top with color, and that I should hold back on the detail. But there is so much cool detail work with. Everything from the patches and shiny trim on the space suit to the wrinkles and reflections in the duct tape, to the likeness of the astronaut himself…not to mention the shuttle, the station and all the cloud forms on the Earth. The huge upside, of course, is that when I come back in with the color I can really focus on that, since everything else has been completely worked out. And, I have found that working out the lighting, reflections, and values is enormously easier in monochrome, especially if I decide to change something. For one thing, color matching is a non-issue.
Speaking of changes, the most notable one I made was to the station. Once the cardboard shuttle was painted, I realized that I needed to make the station drop back farther into the background. I darkened the shadow side considerably to decrease the contrast between it and the black space behind it, and I also added a truss-like structure that extends out behind the cardboard shuttle so that the two objects overlap. Psychologically this helps create some depth.
Now it’s time to start thinking about the specifics of the color scheme. One thing I tried to emphasize when painting ‘Transported’ was the separation of the foreground scene from the background. I didn’t want it to look like my intention was to have a boy in an armchair actually floating in space. In that case, I took advantage of difference between the warm lighting and colors in the foreground and the cooler, more stark lighting in the space scene. I’m going to take a similar approach here, and try to keep the lighting in the foreground much warmer, particularly in the whites and reflections. I’m also purposefully keeping a reflection of a house interior in the helmet rather than reflecting stars or the earth.
I’m excited to get to work on the color, but the underpainting will need several days of dry time before I can safely begin glazing over the top.