This is where I stopped working on the image, took a deep breath, and made a regrettable dive into the impossibility of a monochrome background. Below you can see the phases leading up to this point and then the monochrome background added. Yes, it got mucky. It was a pretty good outcome given I had two pigments to work with; but it had more character before the compulsive “filling-in” fling. I regret the loss of the before product. However, it was worth the risk to gain the benefit of challenging scenarios and fine tuning my intuition.
Confession: I’m not really a background person. I like to micro focus on my subject, even in photography, and just have a conversation with it through art, in essence. The noise of everything else is not unnecessary to me. I suppose that is what I would like others to do. Tune out the chatter and experience what is before you.
I may have another go at repeating this or doing a penguin. However, I have other ideas to follow.
Post Finale: burned out and have decided to leave the graphite contour lines and shadow.