I'm still not sure what to call this one. Anyhow, I thought it was high time I posted an update.
I've finished the background. In my reference photo, the background is very distracting and I didn't want this in the painting. I decided therefore on a slightly more 'edgy' plainish background which would help to create the mood of the piece but at the same time allow our focus to be on his face. To achieve this effect I decided to use vertical brushstrokes rather than a smooth or mottled background with the darker tones increasing nearer the bottom of the painting. Symbolically this could be the world weighing down on his shoulders but it could just be out of focus background. I love how a background can set the mood for the painting. Using print outs of the outline I played with different colour combinations and it was amazing how, even with the same style of background, it totally altered the feel or mood if I chose say greys and blues instaead of the purples yellows, greens and browns that I chose.
I am now beginning the underpinning stage of the face itself. There is still a lot to do to mould the shape and form of the face and shadows to increase but its beginning to take shape. I can start to see 'the look' appearing from the blank white paper. It's a big face so it's going to take me a while even to finish the underpinning. The painting is on a full sheet of Arches cold press.
I'd better get some ears on him soon. He looks a bit like he is wearing white ear muffs at the moment (grin)