Before I forget - these are the vitally important factors leading up to the breakthrough I'm experiencing:
- A few days ago Rob stopped by after about a year. This was the fateful visit where we were both on our best behavior unlike the last few years, and I told him I'm no longer a liberal. As a result we got along better than in many years.
- I showed him my fully-stocked bar and we did a few shots.
- After his visit I decided I wanted to make prints of my best work so I can show it to him without admitting him into the studio, where I still don't trust him. So I finally put all those ink cartridges I had bought a few months ago into the printer and researched the best kind of paper (after making a lot of fuzzy crappy prints on regular so-called 'bright white' paper).
- After making a few good prints and being amazed at how awesomely amazing they look I decided to punch up the color saturation and contrast in Bemused, the direct precursor to where I am now in my techniques...
- As a result I finally started to really bring in the darks, almost black, for the first time. Ironic considering I go by the name Darkmatters all over the web, and do night photographs consisting of lots of darkness..
- I also finally decided to download a bunch of pictures of bodybuilders and actually study the musculature. Immediately it added a whole new dimension to my anatomy book studies - I see now how necessary they both are to each other. Neither is sufficient by itself.
- Last night (when I posted this update) and the night before, as I painted, I imbibed of the sweet libations. Coffee drinks both times. Not to get drunk at all, but to get a nice buzz going. I half suspect this was actually very instrumental in unlocking the old skills from the pencil drawing days of the 80's.
- I studied a Conan painting by Ken Kelly which is actually extremely good, and I suspect Frank might have sketched it in for him or helped in some way - either that or Kelly just really knocked this one out of the park. Here's the image: