"It's damn hard to make a canvas interesting with only one person. And it's not enough to get the likeness. There's also the background that has to be supple, alive, for the background lives. If that is opaque, dead, then there's nothing left."
- Edouard Manet -
I've been working on Steve's second portrait in the past few days. Since the last post on the progress of this painting I had intended to have a rich blue background, similar to those found in Holbein's portraits. But it was not going in the right direction. Working with a flat color that is that bright can be tricky, and I found out the hard way. It was a good idea to leave the painting alone for a few months, although I did look at it everyday as it sat around my studio near other works in progress. I was not happy with the blue look, and finally one day I gave up on my stubborn idea that it had to be blue, and started working in a neutral tone. I think it was a the right choice. The color of the tank top and Steve's skin color are no longer fighting for attention as they did with the blue background. Now they stand up and I believe that this is a better harmony. I'm starting to paint the face, something that will take me a while to nail down.