I grew less and less satisfied with my last drawing and decided to try and be less controlled.
To save preparation time and also to make it less valuable I drew the same image on the back of the first drawing by hanging it on a window and copying the lines. I wanted to get to the problem area directly.
With the oil pastel I used more yellow and kept the blue to accents more like in the picture of the open hand. I was less meticulous with the wetting of the paper and did not always check how much paint I had on my brush. I did not try to get an even wash for the background but to fill paint on it and let the paper and water do their magic. I also avoided to fill in the whole paper. The colours in the first attempt are too cold and too pale. I mixed in Sepia into Payne’s Grey to warm it up and used pure Sepia by the end, quite strong, too. I tried to get some nice splashes and dry brush marks to make the drawing less clean. It is about digging, after all, which involves a lot of earth and dirt. I also wanted there to be energy and force.
I do like the background, it has energy, movement and texture and leaves the drawing space to breath by leaving areas of untouched paper. However, with all the stuff going on I feel it takes focus from the hands. Maybe there is too much of it? Larger hands closer together might work better, as it did in the sketch with the open hand.
The oil pastel marks are more gestural and less controlled. I also like the reduction of the blue. I did keep it to mainly shadowed areas but not consistently and there are yellow shadows, too. I like that. Less rigid rules. Over all I feel there are not enough oil pastel marks to weigh up the large background. Again: larger hands, less background would work better.