There's no doubt about it. This work painting Ginerva d'Benci has been humbling. And with that, I can say that I am learning a lot and still feeling that I am only scratching the surface.
After various approaches, I restarted this evening from a simple base of smoothly sponged yellow ochre and titanium white. From there I worked in some highlighting with pure white scumbles and developed some shadows with red ochre, later turning to Burnt Umber Reddish instead. Every so often I'd scumble a light white layer to pull it together. I also used transparent layers of yellow ochre to unify and warm.
I worked hard to maintain extremely light mixes. Even so, I still ran into some blotchiness, especially when using the red ochre in a slightly aggressive manner. (Notice on her left cheek the unevenness, and on the right the relative smoothness in form transition.)
I also worked on proper tempering. I have been inconsistent and tried to stay aware of my mixes, which gave me good results.
I have noticed how sometimes I get myself into trouble with heavy layers. It's all about mood. Some nights I don't get to pick up a brush until later in the evening and by then I am either tired, rushed, or both. I'm trying to be conscious of my state and relax into my painting when the time finally comes.
I think I will be drifting from time to time from this endeavor while I regroup.
I want to continue copying Old Masters drawings and paintings with white and red chalk on toned paper. (Supplies are on the way.) There is plenty to learn with a more easily controlled medium.
I want to explore turning form in egg tempera with simple shapes, something that I can apply to more complex shapes as I learn from my copying exercises.
I want to develop color charts in egg tempera with my growing collection of pigments.
And lastly, I want to get in some botanical work in graphite, watercolor, and egg tempera.
There! That's the plan! I have only four weeks left to work (so exciting!) so these paths are soon entirely within reach. With this, I'll be starting a botanical art course in late September. (More on that soon.) Additionally, I'm scheduled for two full days of demonstrations and lectures during the ASBA conference in October.