Well, I'm coming to an end here. I've spent the afternoon experimenting with the weeds. I keep pushing them into the shadows and playing with some of the light highlights. (it's really such a cool technique!)
After two weeks, I am almost done. I've darken the facial features on Amy and pushing the rusty wheel under the cart and into the shadows. The plants are taking an unbelievable amount of time. I am focusing on the negative space between the leaves...working dark to light.
Louie, the cat, is peaking out amongst the weeds and Amy is starting to take shape.
Adding in the wood:
Mike tailored his instruction to each student's artistic skill levels. Since he is familiar with my artwork, I think he knew exactly what he wanted to emphasize to me. He really worked with me to understand the importance of pushing the darks...and I mean really push the darks. Everytime he would walk by, he'd be gently coaching me to "go darker".
This didn't really sink in until I started working on this final exercise. Henrietta is emerging out of a dark area and most of her body is in the shadows. As I started drawing the hen, I couldn't get this figured out. Mike stood behind me and kept saying "push the back of her body into the shadows". Through a leap of faith, I shaded the body into the shadows and like magic, Henrietta began emerging right off the paper.