Ochre - Thanks for your comments! The two paintings developed from the ideas in this thread
Cory - I've been working on these quick abstract sketches over the past year and did sell a few of them
Dave - Thanks for your kind words!
Bellaskye - I'll admit that I was aiming for something sinister with the second painting
Bschart - Ann Gale is one of my favorite artists. I saw her work in Portland, Oregon a few years ago and was blown away.
Jon - Thanks chief! Your input is always appreciated.
Ivon - My teacher said the same thing - i.e. I should integrate my backgrounds a bit more. I tend to forget about the background once I start working on the head but you're certainly right that a few darker values would have given the b&w a stronger rhythm.
Brushwaggler - Thanks, I've been looking at the work of Daniel Ochoa and other artists mentioned in the link above.
Rick - I'm happy that the b&w resonates with you. It's the most abstract head study that I've done so far.
Aquabone - Thanks very much for your encouragement. I do appreciate it.
Killer AB - Thanks for your valuable insights on the two paintings!