I have only rarely painted full figures, or nearly-full figures, not since I was doing a lot of life drawing classes at any rate. Even then I would find myself focusing on a profile or a back or a bust much more often than sketching a whole figure. So this is a new kind of painting for me in a number of ways. I really like what's going on here.
First of all, the pose is gorgeous. Oh man, that beautiful S-curve in the spine, the arc of the hips, the lovely expression on the face. She seems so present in her body, just a human being at home in being human. I loved trying to capture the serenity involved here.
Then I nailed the portrait and really enjoyed sculpting the figure with various reds, browns, and mostly, because the model has very white skin, cool ultramarine for shadows.
Finally--and this was really the big experiment of the piece--I love the color I chose for the background. What a gorgeous contrast. It's a goldish brown made of quinacridone gold, crimson, and black. I mottled it in with the very charged brush. I love the effect and have every intention of continuing to experiment with it.
The one question I have is whether the figure is too light and washed out. I have a hard time inventing the true color of light Northern European skin. It's not pure white--there's a tinge of color to it, a color that's not really brown and not really red and not really orange. I don't yet know what it is or how to mimic it. This figure is not accurate, I can say that, but neither is it hugely off.
Anyway, yay me and yay for my gorgeous model and yay for the grace I'm granted to try to understand such beauty through aquarellism.