It’s hard to judge the correct values on the basket until the adjacent areas are closer to their true values. I decided it would be a good time to glaze the background darker. I mixed a dark glaze of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. I often use this mixture as my black, as true black pigment reads as very lifeless. It’s always scary putting down a big dark area like this! I put the glaze down rather thickly, and then gently wiped away all but a thin layer with a clean cotton pad. I plan on putting down several layers in subsequent sessions, so it’s fine that it’s not yet dark enough. I often like to use several thin layers instead of one thick one. This gives me a chance to adjust the color by painting over with a different colored glaze if I need to, and also gradually to work up to the value I’ll need. It’s easier to make a glazed area darker than lighter!
Here’s the first glaze down. I discovered that my drawing for the shadow on the wall on the left was incorrect, so I didn’t follow the underpainting there. The edges of the shadows will need to be softer and more blurred. I’ll need to feather out the edges of the next glaze layer. I can also blur the edges of the shadows with the background colors when I rework that area.
Now that the background is closer to it’s correct value, I can start shading the left, shadow side of the basket. Above, it’s been glazed with a mixture of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, and alizarin crimson. This area will eventually be much darker, but I want to go slowly. Now I could see that large band of bamboo in the center of the basket was too light, so I darkened it with a glaze of transparent yellow ochre and alizarin crimson.
I painted the group of the stone and crystals with my first guess at their local colors. I also made a start on the black cloth. I left the cast shadows uncovered, so that the glaze underneath shows through. Shadows look more convincing if indicated with thin transparent glazes, not with thick body color. (Body color is thick, covering paint undiluted with glaze medium, often with some white mixed in, as opposed to a glaze, which is pigment mixed with glaze medium to make a transparent layer.)
I’m often frustrated at this point in a painting, because I’m not ready to refine anything yet. It all has to grow together. I get more subtle as I go!
At my next session, I’ll darken the background close to it’s finished value, so I can then paint the handle and top of the basket. I can’t paint this part of the basket before the glaze is down, because when I wipe off the extra glaze, it would smear all over it! I’ll also finish my first layer of paint on the cloth in the lower left, and put in the local colors of the stone. I don’t like to let any part of the painting progress too far beyond any other part. If I brought any part to completion before the rest, I would have had little to judge it’s color and value against, and it would inevitably be wrong!