As I work sometimes I try to take occasional photos so I can document my progress. I started a variation of a Fusseli Nightmare painting on a 12×16 inch canvas board. It’s just a loose copy in that the format is a bit longer the original ratio and so I stretched the figure a bit and added a drapery and changed a few other things, but it’s the same essential painting. The stage that you see is about my third sitting.
The palette so far is only titanium white, burnt umber, yellow ochre, and black. This photo was taken right after painting before the medium had any time to dry and so the paint hasn’t sunk in yet making the tonal contrast in the darks appear incorrect (you can see the effect in areas like under the table and behind the demon), but that will change when it dries.
Also by the time it dries the burnt umber will appear more transparent as it is still in suspended in the medium and hasn’t had time to disperse as it settles in place.
But the real problem is that I had to correct a lot of the highlights with white which means I lost some of the yellow ochre and so I will have to wait for the white paint to dry (which takes a long time) before adding the warm colors back into the lit side of things. Good examples of where this will have to be done is the cleavage area and arm and hair and most of the lit side of the demon also and some of the colored blanket (the flat section near the stool).
I will also color the background drapery behind the demon with a little venetian red at a latter stage and I may color the demon a slight green which will stand out well against that red.
Also the ground will need to be more grey.
Fusseli was a great artist and you can see a lot of inspiration from him in Hogarth’s figures, but his work was often underdeveloped. There are a few variations of this painting which are more simple than the one I am working from. For this reason I will not feel guilt at stopping this painting at a lower level of finish than I usually like to, but it still needs a lot more work before I will be happy with it nonetheless.