Nov 2013 – The work on the Last Supper continues along as the painting moves past the underpainting and into what I always consider the real work – finagling with the drawing, checking composition, adjusting values, and building up colors and layers of paint.
Despite promises to the contrary made to a lot of colleagues about my work on this painting, I had to make some decisions about the composition that ultimately ended up with some large adjustments made to the drawing. Before I made those adjustments, some rough kraft paper cutouts were placed on the painting to make sure the composition worked better. Going into this project, I really wanted to nail down the drawing perfectly and not make any major changes. The scale of the empty table in the foreground threw off the balance of the picture some, so I picked two Apostles to move up front.
I did like the immediacy the characters in the foreground lent to the picture, helping move the viewer closer to the scene rather than be just an observer. I also cut the tablecloth in half, exposing the sawhorses holding up the table, which helped balance the top and bottom halves of the painting.
With the adjustments to the drawing made, I was able to start back in on bringing some darker values throughout the painting and readjust the newly placed figures.
Lots of tightening up of the faces happened next, with highlights, color and paint strewn about the canvas as well. I’m taking down a wall in my studio soon so I can properly start to paint the three women servants in the foreground.