I wanted this benchmark to stand out, so I ended up using a 12x16 canvas instead of the 8x10 pieces of canvas paper that I've been practicing on. It just seemed more real, to test my knowledge on a canvas. I worked an hour and a half more than I was used to (for an 8x10 it's usually 2-2 1/2 hours of painting). I ran out of tea in the teapot and I got too compulsive to make more. The length of time was a stretch but I kept repeating the process to myself - sketch it lightly, block it in, and stay loose to pull it into focus. And it worked!
If I want to see how far I've come, I started with this:
Then moved to this:
And now I'm here:
I feel like I'm starting to really get what I'm doing. I'm starting to be aware of all the parts involved in building a painting from composition to completion. I know there is a LOT more that I need to learn, but I'm starting to feel as though I can stand on my own, even if I can't take off running yet. As I begin the next half of the year, and complete my next 50 practice paintings, I hope to pull all the skills I'm learning into a consistent look and style that will serve as my jumping off point for even more learning and fun.