kitfox Good question, on Gary's original painting it seems pretty clear the stairs are elevating. Should have done a better job on illustrating that on mine.
Cast update. Got frustrated trying to get even tones so took a small piece of paper and did some small squares (paper hanging) which took 1/2 hour. Was more satisfied with the squares and I started to see the importance with keeping the vine charcoal sharp at all times. Afterward did a tiny rectangle area on the background (left of the cast shadow) and was happier with it. Will take a looong time to get that done on the rest of the background but at least now I feel like it's doable.