I've started doing tonal studies for this piece. I'm imagining a mountainous landscape behind the satyr, which I will need to do more studies for. Once all the studies are finished, I'll do a small oil study and then transfer the composition to a large canvas. I couldn't have gotten this far without using a model because my imagination can't comprehend the anatomy genuinely enough. The satyr, of course, doesn't have human anatomy, but that's where my imagination comes in. I like thinking about paintings in this manner, like a puzzle that needs all the pieces before it can be solved.
I had an idea for a painting about a year ago, which I executed some studies for, but then abandoned. I realized, after looking through the studies, that this is some of the best work that I have done. And why do I think this is better work? Because it is art created with a purpose. The studies were created with an intent to translate my broader idea. My good friend posed for a few days during which time I sketched. I then took the sketches and completed the oil head study. I will be returning to this picture and will complete a larger picture after a lot more studies. But the composition is already set and that is a lot of the battle already finished.
The lesson that I learned is that the sketches and studies that I find beauty in were all created with an end goal in mind. I believe in constant sketching and studying of nature, but they are like a boat drifting in the sea without a rudder. It may be nice to float a while, but it's better to have a destination in mind. And that is the true test after practice.
It's not a romantic ideal, but the truth is that studies and sketches are the structure of great works of art. There has never been any great work created without studies and much forethought.
Realizing the power of midtones and darks, as opposed to highlights, has improved my drawing. Every area must have a tone, even in the light most facing plane. I used to think that paintings were made with strong highlights, but that is not true at all.
A darker, more accurately toned, drawing will always look more appealing than a blown out highlight drawing. And this is true because life has very few lights. Skin and a lot of other materials are mostly softly shifting midtones. But, as always, it's important to balance all the factors.
I am very excited to announce that I am now being represented by Artist Management & Associates in California.