Patmore, final stage

And there it is, our eyes are now fully opened and Patmore is complete.  The hatching marks of the background and suit are brought even closer together to reveal the darkest darks.  Transitions are added on the face and neck between the shadows and the lights.  It's worth noting that the white chalk and the charcoal never actually meet or blend.  There is always a buffer of plain toned paper in between, acting as midtone.  Now that all of the information is here, in particular the darkest darks, I am able to make informed decisions about how bright to take my lightest lights.  The collar was brightened, as it is white.  Though it is the brightest part of Sargent's portrait, I opted to play it down slightly.  Since there is only so much white chalk I can add, the only way to make it appear brighter is to make everything else darker, which I did not want to do.  It is still brighter, relatively speaking, than anything else, but I brought the range a little closer together.  

I could have taken this drawing further, but I am not out to make it look like a photo.  That is what photography is for.  Instead, I am trying to create illusion.  What makes a painting different than a photograph is that it is a collection of decisions made by the artist as to what they want to put in and leave out.  When looking at a model there is an infinite amount of information in front of you.  You have to edit.  It is each painter's edits that make their work what it is.  Master copies are unique in that you are essentially looking through another painter's decisions and edits that might not be familiar to you.  That's the whole point, and why they are invaluable.