Before I finalized the ellipses and perspective, I wanted to paint my value study to make sure that I was happy with the composition. Sometimes it’s easier to judge a composition without the distraction that color can bring. The large areas of darks and lights must be harmonious and interesting, and serve to guide the viewer’s eye to the focal point. Details are unimportant at this point. I aim to work quickly and just roughly indicate the big shapes.

Above is the result of my first session. I’ll let this dry for a few days. If I tried to continue now, the different values of paint would smear together, and it’d be hard to achieve crisp lights and darks. Also, my first guess at the correct values is usually wrong. I need to see some paint covering the whole study, so that I can compare adjacent areas. Painting is all about comparing!

Above is the study after the second session. I adjusted values, corrected the drawing, and added some details. Ill live with this for a few days, and see if I’m satisfied with the composition.