Cast shadow is far too dark and opaque

How quickly I forget the pitfalls of working from a photograph.  I forget everything I know about light and creating the illusion of atmosphere by remembering my value scale and the luminosity of color when only two pigments are mixed rather than three, four or five.  The problem of dead shadows is compounded when layer after layer are applied in the futile attempt of “fixing” the problem.

I began with the roof.  How simple it was to begin with a cool red on the right, a warm blue on the left and carefully draw them together, allowing them to mix on the paper.  The value was dark without killing the illusion of the sun striking against the metal roof of the old farm outbuilding.  I was so pleased with myself that I let my guard down and allowed my old, bad habits to take over.  Had I been painting on location rather than working from a photograph I would not have painted the cast shadow of the adjacent building and the ivy so dark.  My original painting of the shadow was a bit too light.  Had I left it alone it would have been more effective than the large, lifeless dark shape.  I ignored the fifteen minute time limit and continued to fuss, laying on layer after layer, splattering a few lights to break up the heavy darkness.  Of course, nothing worked to bring back the illusion of light in the cast shadow.

I will now take the little painting to the sink and wash off the cast shadow.  Perhaps I will go back into it with pastel.  Then, after one more effort to recover light, I will leave it alone, turn the page, and begin another little sketch.

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