Finally, I am on a roll with this portrait. The challenges no longer seem insurmountable and I'm now finding it difficult to drag myself away from my drawing table. This is in contrast to how I felt when the progress seemed slow and unsatisfactory - there is little connection with the work when discouraging feelings persist and I have to force myself to keep working and to approach the process in a professional manner.
I have further developed my technique with this portrait and that makes all of the challenges worthwhile. By interchanging the types of pencils that I am using, I have been able to achieve a finer result. For this picture, I have found that laying down pale washes using Derwent Coloursoft pencils, and modelling the contours using Derwent Artists pencils, produces the best result. I have been returning to the Coloursoft pencils for the final washes, which I use to deepen and improve the intensity of the colour.
Derwent Artists pencils retain their sharp point better than the Coloursoft pencils and this is essential for fine details. The Coloursoft pencils produce a creamier and smoother finish for the washes. They, also, produce a more intense colour with fewer layers than the Artists pencils. I find the Artists pencils too hard for some of the smooth textures which are important in depicting skin tones, so a combination of the two types has been a good compromise.
The foot is almost complete. I will leave it, at this stage, and move on to the large arm which is cradling the baby, and I will return to fix up any problem areas when the portrait is nearing completion. In my next post, I will describe the colours that I have used to depict the baby's skin and the differences which will be necessary to paint the adult arm.
At this point, I have found my rhythm and my soul is absorbed in the process of creating an image of beauty - bliss!