Annelise is coming along well enough. Every single thing in this painting need to be retouched, but that's in line with my earlier description of her character so I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm just happy to present a step with more accurate colors.
She is decidedly less blue for this step, which is a positive. Whenever I use blue for initial sketch, I am inviting disaster. Blue made sense for Dania and the other painting. Blue made NO sense for Annelise. Still, when doing the basic layers I use whatever paint I have at the time, so blue it was! With this painting, I am glad to see the blue almost entirely eradicated. Annelise's compliment color is GREEN. I felt the need to hammer that home by tossing in that bit of background. Green good. Blue bad.
When I abandoned the painting on the easel last night, her eye color was still blue and the one on the right was missing completely. When I woke up, the first thing I saw was a one-eyed chick looking directly at me. Creepy. The eyes have come a long way since, but they're going to look a bit disjointed until I go back to add more color to the face. More flesh tone will anchor them in place - particularly on the recently-added right eye - and the thick black line under her eye will be muted dramatically. When doing these touch-ups, I expect to make her lips a bit fuller as well.
Even with this progress, I may be tabling this painting for a bit. It's all because of that damn necklace. In the story, the necklace holds a great deal of significance. Once Annelise receives it, her character really takes off. And I mean that more literally than figuratively. There's another key item that comes into Annie's possession when she gets the necklace: An ornate jeweled knife.
Since I like where the painting is going, I am going to aim high and include that knife. To do so, it requires me painting a fairly complex pose with her hands - and my record with hands is not stellar. Anyone want to be a hand model for me?
Painting Dania, on the other hand, has been a struggle. It was only in the most recent pass when I finally started to think I could pull it off. Once her lips and the eye on right are pushed back, I think the real Dania will finally shine through.
The implant/crown-thing and dress are still on step one of treatment. Like the lace trimming on the dress? Dania's introduction has her wearing an ill-fitting babydoll/nightgown dress that only emphasizes her physical abnormalities. (Instead of lace the dress was ruffled, but I felt that wouldn't work with the composition.) I'm not going so far as to make it *really* awkward, as that would make the painting suck. I just want to *hint* at the real Dania (and Annelise, for that matter) while making a painting that can stand alone with its quality.
Edit: Because I'm too scared to continue with painting for now, I want to talk about backgrounds.
I've been looking over the paintings and contemplating my decision to depict the women based on events inside the story. If I wanted to be really accurate, I'd match up the backgrounds as well.
For Annelise, there is only one possible moment when she would turn to someone, wearing the necklace, and show off the knife. It would be during her final goodbye after her resignation. She is given the necklace the morning of her departure, along with some important advice on how to use the necklace. Armed with that knowledge, Annelise would return to her boss' office and "borrow" the knife. As she exited the office, she would pass by the original owner of the necklace, stop and briefly flash the knife. This scene will not appear in the story, as it is redundant. We already know the motivations from the necklace scene. We know she went back from the knife because she pulls it out later. Still, the scene does happen, so I can paint it!
OK, so Annelise is in an office space at the time of the pose. The background already started is a textured green. That's a problem, right?
ACTUALLY, I managed to luck the fuck out! You know that office space? It's designed to resemble a forest glade. THE WALLS ARE PAINTED GREEN! Woohoo! Yay for prescient artistic choices! The idea for the forest-themed office was to have the walkways in the office space made of blue carpet to resemble a stream - implying those elite enough to enter the office actually walk on water. Incidentally, this means Annelise is facing southwest for this pose. The northern wall of the office is painted green. The southern side is a progression of windows with potted plants. I love that I know details like this!
For Dania, putting in an accurate background would require a change. The circle thing was meant to hint at the mandala-like discs she creates as part of her "summoning" - I won't bore you with details. Anyway, the scene I am depicting in the Dania painting is one of the few I've actually written out. Here it is:
On first impression, most who meet her find her to be striking—which is not always a compliment. Physically, she was extremely thin, which was only highlighted by her height. In truth, she was no taller than your average woman, but the width was simply not to scale. This disparity was quite apparent today, thanks to her high heels, periwinkle skirt and an ill-fitting sleeveless ruffled tan top. Her outfit provided a stark contrast to the administrator, who was wearing his long official rob, deep blue as a base and embroidered with maroon and gold. Reaching Gar, she stopped abruptly, causing her loose curls to bounce, and stood formally waiting for the administrator to turn from his window, looking like a very polite ghost.
With the angle shown in the painting, Dania's background would be the windows of the hallway. You know, those windows are very doable. Sweet!
This means Dania is facing northwest in the painting. It also means the scene takes place around 5:30-6pm. Heh. If the painting extended farther down, you'd see a loaded clipboard in her right hand resting against her skirt. Another note: When I first conceived of painting my characters, I was going to use this exact scene - but with Gar Strickland as my focus instead. Then I realized painting dudes was not as much fun.