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Flashback - L'été (Summer)

You know what? I realised that, since I launched this site, there hasn't been any of the process stages for my older work. I thought I'd give that a go, and also use the opportunity for a bit of a self-critique, so here's the first of my Mechanicals pieces, Summer, or L'été, to give it it the title of the poster it's based on.

Here is that original poster, Les Saisons: l’été, by Alphonse Mucha from 1896. It's a pretty beautiful image, especially the expression on the model's face. I think this actually was one of the prints at my wedding reception that inspired me to do the experiments that became The Mechanicals.

Alphonse Mucha, Les Saisons: l’été 1896

In the pencilling stage, I was just trying to duplicate the model's pose. I had fun with the hair, turning it into cables, and putting plates of metal in to stand for the flowers in the original. If I were to change one thing about it, I would not have added the sheet that I have her leaning on, as it blends into the bodya bit too much. I did use the colours to address that, but it would have been better to pick that up at the compositional stage.

Pencil version of l’été

One thing I did improve on in the inked stage was embracing the negative space in the top right corner. There was no need to have a random light fitting there, it didn't reflect anything from the original, and it made the picture busier than it needed to be. I also could have used lighter lines around the face, in order to make the facial features easier to pick out.

Inked version of l’été

Hmm, the background... It was another experiment, and I'm glad I tried it, but I'm not sure it works. I might have tried some lighter, subtler colours, or gone with a pattern, like I eventually used in The Lady. I think it would have been better to err on the side of negative space. Still, it's pretty. I do like the splash of red that her hair makes, and it would have been good to maybe make that pop even more.

In the end, this was an experiment, maybe even moreso than any of the others in the series, and I still look back on it fondly. What do you think?

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