i had pretty much given up on this painting that i had entitled "the tao of dreadlock maintenance". in my mind it was dark, gritty (literally), desperately unfinished without a clue how to proceed, and (here is the clincher and in technical jargon) generally icky.
i shared this frustration with ted nuttall while he was here and he, quite to my surprise, thought this was gem in the rough. his main criticism was that it was unfinished (hooray, i got one right) and mainly due to a lack of observation from the model leaving some critical areas too ambiguous or downright confusing. he felt that most observers would spend a lot of time trying to figure out some minor problem and miss the big picture. i had to agree with him (and not just because he was an expert) because i had noticed that i was somewhat like a horse going to the stable after long ride....i was anxious to be done with it and to move onto the next project. the result was sloppy work from equally sloppy and poor observation. not really seeing and what was analyzing what was there. i am reminded of one of my favorite quotes, which i have paraphrased, from richard schmid: "if you have to choose from what you know (or think you know) is there and what you actually see, only put in what you see.
so, there were a lot of areas near the bottom of her attire that were ambiguous in a distracting way. there were too many areas of unclear or incorrect value that made it difficult to tell what was there. there were lines that met at too much of a tangent. there were features on her face that were not nearly dark enough.
with all that in mind i re-worked it to see if i could tease out some of that gem that ted seemed to think was buried somewhere in all that mess. here is the before and after shot of the painting. i hope that i don't need to label each....otherwise all has been for naught.
feel free to leave comments good, bad, or indifferent.