Sweet Dreams, oil on linen
I painted this yesterday. Brooke was our model again, struck a reclining pose for us. It took a while before this painting took shape. I experimented with a very light background first, with the idea that I would lose much of the lit edge (top) of the figure into the background, thereby defining less.
But as her hair is dark, it put too much contrast in that part of the picture. I didn't want a lot of emphasis on her head / face, because mystery and anonymity is top priority for me. (That's also the reason why I often don't paint facial features)
I tried dark background behind the head area, and light background behind the rest of the figure but it just looked too contrived. I finally settled on a dark background, popping the contrast between her back and the darkness beyond. "Poppin' it" is something I've been avoiding lately in an effort to define less (that mystery thing again) but throwing her face in the shadow here effectively took care of the mystery aspect. I decided to overemphasize that line of her back. I mean it is a beautiful line! I used a super sharp edge there, (if I were to be more academic, that edge should be softer because it's turning away from us, and into darkness even) which I hope looks intentional.
I like this a lot.