Even though the paint is still a bit wet, I think I’ll make some adjustments to my study. Here’s how it stands.

Japanese basket #30

Below you can see the changes I made. The first thing I did was to put some more detail on the basket handle and add a few highlights on its left side to draw the eye into the top of the composition. I darkened the handle’s right side to keep it in the shadow.  I darkened the wall behind and to the right of the basket. I also added more detail on the basket, especially on its dark left side. On the light side, I added some of the shadows cast by the weave. I want the lit part of the handle on the box to draw the eye, so I spent a little time painting this accurately, and brightening it. The top of the box was too dark, so I lightened it one step. I added some highlights on the decanter and darkened the wall on the far left. I’m mot sure if I like this. I may put it back the way it was.

Finally, I decided that the fold in the cloth under the decanter was distracting and leading the eye out of the picture, so I eliminated it.

Japanese basket #34

I’m including a close-up below to illustrate how loose and free the execution is in this study. More care and details would serve no useful purpose here. I’m trying to see the big picture (literally!) and how the composition as a whole hangs together. Details are fun and interesting, but it’s the big shapes and values that determine if a composition will be a success or not.

Japanese basket #33

I’ll tape the black-and-white study on the wall and refer to it when I begin painting my canvas. I’ll use it to make sure I’m getting my values correct. I’ll daub a bit of whatever color I’m mixing onto the corresponding place on the study and compare values. If the color’s too light or too dark it will stand out noticeably. Below is a photo of the study from my last painting where you can see daubs of paint whose values I was checking. If you squint your eyes and the daub disappears, you know its the correct value to match the adjacent area.


If I still like the study in a few days, I’ll order my canvas and start perfecting my drawing.