Because the canvas is so tall and the Emperor’s head is so close to the top of the composition (making him feel even higher up than he really is) I’ve pulled out the platform that I got from Steve Aufhauser at Continental a few years ago. I find working on it much more comfortable than standing on a ladder. I just got an articulated monitor arm that allows me to clamp a screen on the rail of the platform, so now I can work with the benefit of my screen for reference for the figures.
I’m taking a little painting technique influence from my colleagues Tony Pro and Mike Adams (who are both alla prima painters) and pushing myself to work faster in getting the basic first layer of greys onto the canvas. It’s fun because it takes the pressure off attempting to find perfection, encouraging looser, gestural painting that I expect to make the painting feel dynamic and exciting. Right now I want to introduce a sense of movement by letting the edges of the hair blend loosely into the sky, then to emphasize the height of the Emperor’s position by making his head a little small and his feet a little large. Everything is pretty rough, but going in the right direction. I’m enjoying working a little more loosely – getting too tight is not ideal for me.