The right level of hue
1 Space and lighting
I want one or maybe several light sources radiating from the top of the composition, gradually dropping to hit the space in the middle. Then other figures will appear as silhouettes. For the table, I think about how light strikes its surface and cast shadows. I also consider the hue of the figures and the intensity of light – I don’t want light like a modern fluorescent lamp.
2 Controlling the painting’s hue
Hue is one of the priorities of a painting and the effect the light has on it can unify a composition. The character, props, the surface under the light, cast shadows – they all have a colour, and the light will affect it. Only the middle values will retain the richest colour. I don’t add highlights because they may prove distracting to the viewer lose. There should be only one bright area.
3 Creating detail
Next I use small brushes to touch up the painting’s details, then I crosshatch and treat the highlights. Finally, I use texture brushes to enrich the composition, with some special effects such as glowing lights. I pay attention to details, but I try to get the right balance. Too much and you can risk scattering the viewer’s focus around the painting. Too little and people mightn’t be attracted to it.