Currently I have three projects underway depicting religious figures. There is this one of The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christ Child which I posted on in my previous entry and then I have two other images I'm working on, each of a female saint. I will share about these last two projects soon. Here I just wanted to update my readers on what I've done with this Madonna and Child project since I've last posted.
First, after taking an artist's advice, I softened the expression of the Marian figure in my drawing reference/ photocopy of the original drawing with its subsequent modifications. It's just a few very slight changes I made to give her a slight smile, but I feel it is a big improvement and does serve to make her more approachable.
Next, I made another minor modifaction to my paint study of the Christ Child, where the same artist who advised me to soften the Virgin Mary's expression observed that the forehead of this baby image was elongated, making him look too adult-- so I fixed that as well.
Another way I've progressed with this project is that I started to seek out a better idea of what my color scheme for the finished painting will be. I made this study by painting directly over one of my photocopies of the drawn image. I made some paint swatches as well of variations of red and blue, but this is the only developed color study I've done in the sense of seeing how the different colors of the image relate to each other. I may do some other color studies before I actually do the final painting. One thing I remember about making this color study is tweaking it so that the white in the image seemed more balanced. Initially, the skin tone was darker and the white of the blanket that the Christ Child is wrapped in was lighter. It bothered me how the white of the blanket popped out without tying into another light color of similar weight, as the color scheme is pretty dark. I sought to address this by bringing the value of the skin tone and the value of the blanket closer together--by lightening the skin and darkening the blanket. Also, another way I sought out some balance of the light fabric in the paint study was by incorporating white into the clothing of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Through my study of different paintings of the Virgin Mary, I noticed that it was a convention in many images of her for there to be a layer of white fabric closest to her body, peeking out from under the layer over it...I'm assuming to symbolize her purity. So I adopted this in my paint study. Speaking of conventions in regard to the clothing of the Blessed Virgin Mary in art...I have been told by an art historian the reason as to why she if often depicted with red clothing covered with blue. The red I was told is meant to symbolize her humanity and the blue is mean to symbolize heaven, purity, or divinity. I am fascinated how even her clothing can drive home the theme of the incarnation...of heaven and earth meeting within her, and her giving God in the flesh to the world.