For this figure start, I used the same photo as yesterday. But this time I focused on getting the drawing correct before moving on.
I will admit that the color in these photos is dead and uninteresting. If I was looking at this model in real life I would see more greens, blues, and other variations of warm colors. This generalization of the overall color is the biggest difference I notice when comparing life and photo. And even though the shadows are flat and just as uninteresting the photos do provide good information on the relative value. I think the best thing I can learn from photos is drawing and modeling form. I have no issue with seeing the planes of the face or the turn of a ribcage.
So this is another good reason for me to focus on starting figure paintings. With photos, I can work on the initial drawing. Then move to the planes of the figure and see how the relative values turn the form. Even if I was painting the model directly from life I wouldn’t put much work into capturing the subtle colorations of skin tones until much later into the painting. And even then I would probably need several session with the model before I got to that point.
When I’m in an open studio and I have less than three hours to capture a figure on canvas I need to focus on getting the drawing accurate right off. Then I need to model the general planes of the form with correct relative value. That is all I have time for. But, if I get that begging part right the rest of the painting we go very smoothly and I can just relax.