I posted about this painting over on Instagram and it got me thinking about both why this painting doesn’t feel finished and where my trouble with the cruciform composition is happening. Is it because of the composition itself or is it a value problem? I’m learning that if ever I hear myself say, “Is it a value problem,” it is probably a value problem.
So I brought it into Photoshop and took a look. Making it black and white I'm realizing how I didn't get the full value spectrum I was trying for. My goal was the center of the cruciform to be dark with the arms to be mid-tones and the rectangles to be light. I mostly succeeded with the darks but not at all with the lights.
Back in Photoshop I lightened the area around the focal point. I'm not sure which one I like better but it really taught me how much stronger the design is when I actually do have lights.
A little lighter:
A lot lighter:
The value shift definitely helped strengthen the composition however I still don't know if the value adjustment made the painting feel finished.