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so this is my second posting, first of this pic. What's missing? I took it as far as I could, now I think I need feedback cuz it doesn't feel DONE.
I like the concept and the composition so far, but there are a few things going on that I think could use a little work. First, I would recommend finding reference photos of rocky desert areas in full sunlight. Deserts are going to have a lot more color bouncing around in the shadows: warmer colors bounced back from the sand, and cool blues reflecting from the sky.
There is too much contrast area of the background with the ship and the smaller figures, which kills some of the sense of depth. You have some nice structures, but they're all a little flat right now because they're all treated with the same intensity. Try having softer edges and less contrast in the background elements to help them sit further back in space.
There are a lot of superfluous brushstrokes that aren't really helping define the forms; they just make things look choppier than necessary. In some areas it gives nice texture, but when you have scribbling lines over the entire piece it gets very busy. Try letting some areas have broader brushstrokes.
Also, make sure to keep your shadows consistent. There are nice high-contrast shadows on the rocks and horse, but the horse and rider and space ship aren't casting much shadows.
Here's a quick overpaint that might better explain things. More colors in the shadows (warm bounced light from the sand hitting the downward facing shadow planes, cool bounced light from the blue sky hitting the upward facing shadow planes); slightly less contrast in the background elements; broader brush strokes in some areas and less quick, thin strokes. I hope this helps a little.
Thanks jdillon, very helpful. Light temperatures are still challenging...
Revised the image, anyone think this is ready for the Finished section or is there something not yet done?