To review the exercise we did in class:
Working from a photo, make a study of just the strong darks.
Paint in monochrome, using black, or a color that can get dark enough to represent the darkest darks.
Stand back, and assess the extent to which the darks alone realize an illusion of light and space and substance.
When the darks are dry, paint in the middle values, leaving the strong lights pure white paper. Use just one wash for all the middle values, rather than differentiating between dark middle and light middle. You will have to round many values up or down to homogenize them. The object here is to see how letting go of subtlety affects the illusion and the overall feeling of the page.
Where would you like to see more subtlety or specificity? Where is this oversimplified treatment surprisingly satisfying?
All of you did all this in class, so it follows nicely to use the information you gathered to guide a full palette version of the subject. If you prefer, make another study, this time painting the middle value pattern first, then applying the darks. Don’t forget to assess the study when it has only the middle values and the whites. It can reveal how much work the lights do by themselves.