Finished the painting several days ago. Haven't heard back from the client on what he thinks of it.
So I said earlier that this was just an all out attempt to decide for good whether oils were in my future or if I could toss aside any and all thought about doing oil paintings anymore. Well I think it's the end of the road for using oils. Unless ofcourse the original sells for at least $600. That's a really low price for that large of an original oil painting. I have such a hard time believing people buy expensive originals of fantasy art. I just imagine it's harder to find a wealthy enough family that all like fantasy art and have a 3ftx4ft space on their wall. For me to work comfortably in oils I have to work large and that means costs go up which means I have to charge more for the original.
For instance the surface for this cost $150. My craft skills are poor or else I would have built the supports for the masonite and gessoed it myself to save some money. Then I either have to spend time editing in photoshop or spend $100 to have it scanned by a high-end imaging company. It's hard to look at a minimum of $250 in expenses before modeling fees, costume costs, and paint costs. Plus it took me one more week than I suspect it would have taken me working digitally so that's another $165. So this commission cost me $415 more to produce because I chose to do it traditionally. The only possible up-side being that perhaps somebody buys the original or there are people willing to buy prints of this because it's traditional rather than digital but I'm not sure I want to kowtow to those meat heads. At the moment, making a profit off this commission depends on hopefully being able to sell the studies at a convention,selling prints or selling the original. Not a situation I want to be in.
The actual painting process wasn't really any harder or easier than working digitally. I'm not going to say the dwarf's feet are a work of genius or anything but they consist of very few strokes done quickly. After painting them so quickly I thought, "if I had done that digitally it would have looked like crap. " The reason being that people(me included) don't accept seeing digital brush strokes but you can really get away with murder leaving raw strokes all over the canvas and nobody will accuse you of using short cuts like you'd get if it were digital.
It's easier to get color modulation going on in paint. Something digital artists try to emulate by creating noise layers and texture overlay layers. Easier to create some cohesion. Soft changes are much easier
Here's a cleaned up shot of the painting and a digital mash up to create a new composition. I think I still prefer the original composition but I tend to prefer really horizontal or really vertical compositions and the more compact image is a bit too square for me but I thought perhaps overlapping the figures more would make the piece better received by people outside those who commissioned the piece.