Thursday, March 14, 2013

Intermediate Watercolor 3/14/13 Taking Off

With all those shadow shape studies we did the past two weeks, there should be plenty of images that can serve as the basis for some color experimentation.
Try making some simple versions of the poses you observed, using the dark/light pattern as a jumping off place. Holding on to the value relationships, try introducing surprising colors. Let go of your assumptions about color. Does the shadow side of a figure have to be cooler? Are downward-facing planes always warm? Can the eyes be different colors? Can a line change color temperature half way along? Is hair never green and purple? Who's making the rules?

Julia Kay

Joan Brown

Manuel Neri

Beginning watercolor 3/14/13 Letting Value do the Work

Working on the self-portraits in class, it was clear that the value contrast between the first and second layers did most of the job of creating an illusion of light and substance. The reliability of this effect makes it possible to be bold with color, as long as you hold on to the value relationship. The first layer, for example, could be richly multi-colored if the colors are similarly pale. The shadow pattern, too, could be made up of a variety of colors if they are all dark enough to work together to make the shadows.
Alexei  Jawlensky

Take advantage of the opportunity to experiment with exaggerated color relationships. Try making all the downward facing planes similar in color temperature, but different in hue. Or try making the shadows all cool and the lights all warm, or vice-versa.

Andre Derain   Portrait of Matisse

It is also possible to use color to provide all the contrast, as Derain has done here. Much of the blue shadow side of the face is no darker than the yellow, sunlit side, but it still reads as shadow. This work will carry over to our figure painting next Wednesday.

Have fun. Let go.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beginning Watercolor Homework 3/7/13 layers, again

In class we discussed the process of making a step-by-step demonstration of the sequence of layers that led to a simple study of an image. To review the process, please read this description carefully:

Start by identifying the major shapes in the image. There should be no more that 10 or 12.
Make a simple drawing that locates the shapes.
Paint in the first layer - the lights - of each shape, keeping the treatment as simple as possible (no texture or detail).
Now make two more first layer pages, so that you have 3 more or less identical sheets.
Put the second layer - middle value - on top of the first on two of your 3 sheets.
Finally, apply the 3rd layer - the darks - on top of one of the second layers.

When the process is finished, you should have one sheet that just has the first layer, one that has first and second layers, and one that has three layers. If you need a fourth layer to get the super-darks, just apply them on top of the third layer. No need to make a separate , fourth version.

In case you missed class, here are a couple of simple images that will resolve nicely into three layers. If you think there should be a fourth layer of super darks, put them on top of the three layer treatment.

In case you were not in class, here's an image that resolves neatly into 3 or 4 layers.