As most of you know, acrylics dry darker so that has to be taken into account when mixing paint. The reference photo posted below has been converted to grayscale and most of the faces are in shadow. I chose to do this composite painting because of the shadows. Shadows are an area that are so important in creating form and drama. Painting them is one area where I need vast improvement.
Because the photo is a composite, the shadows in each face are different values but for this painting all the shadows will be adjusted close to the same level.
Next question, how dark should the shadows be - rule of thumb is four times (4x) darker than the lightest side. Another thing to consider is that photos can flatten shadows and can appear darker than they actually would be in real life.
Now that I've looked at the photo in grayscale, I can see that I have painted the form shadows too dark. And no, I'm not showing the painting yet. That is the benefit of looking at a grayscale of the painting as it stands and then stepping back from the painting to see if the shadows help create form from a distance or flatten it.
I might as well add to the litany and say that I have not been wearing a contact in my left eye since the end of January. For some reason my eye is so bad that blinking scratched it and wearing a contact added to the irritation. It still isn't any better, so back to the doctor again on Monday and then testing for a pair of glasses to wear until this heals. The positive side of this is that I certainly should be able to paint lost/found edges!