One of the curses of using my iPod to take pictures is that it has a terrible camera. It completely bleached out all the color from the skin!
As I was working on it, a classmate said that the painting reminded her a bit of Gustav Klimt. A great compliment, to be sure, since I love that painter, but I admitted that I felt like the skin was too pasty compared to the vivid crimson background and earthy hair. (The photo above, while accurate, rather supports that claim.) She said that since people tend to use so much titanium white when mixing skin tones, they have a tendency to create very "chalky" looking people. She hit the nail on the head - my face looked way too chalky. So over the course of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, I brainstormed ways that I could try to fix this problem.
When I got to class today, the instructor told me that I should try to make the hair a "little more interesting", perhaps by adding more color. He did praise the rhythm of the painting, which was nice. I liked the way the orange looks in the upper corner, so I thought that perhaps adding more orange to the hair would help pep it up. Then, when I turned to the problem of the skin, I decided to use blue in the shadows - not only would this hopefully add some color to the skin, it would be a nice complement to the orange in the hair. (Color Theory class FTW!)
On Tuesday, after this current layer of paint has had time to dry, I'll be adding a some pinks and yellows to the skin to better capture the way light hits the non-shadowed areas; and next Thursday I guess I'll add some white for the really bright areas. The background is pretty much done, and I think I'm close to finished with the hair - at this point, it's just getting the face to a state that I can live with.