Monday, May 15, 2017

Everyone's Homework 5/14 Subtle Values

Whoops! I went off to SoCal for my son's graduation and all thoughts of homework went out of my head. I hope you all found something that made you want to paint.
Here are a few images that rely on close value relationships for their appeal.
I recommend making a 5 value monochrome study as a first step for any of these.

Careful with this one. The barn is "white", but it's not the lightest thing in the picture. How can that be?

You might want to practice that hill in the far background. It looks like grading  it so that the left side is lighter than the right is important.

Maybe move the horizon so it's not in the middle of the page...?

Feel free to make any changes you want after studying the values. When you're ready, choose your palette and make a full color version.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Intermediate Watercolor 5/4/17 FAKE ART!

I'll describe a scene with just a few shapes;
There are two or three large birch trees standing in a clearing beside the dense woods. The woods form a backdrop like a tapestry of several different tones. Some sky is visible above and between the branches of the trees, and some short grass forms the foreground, where the birch trunks emerge from the ground.

Sound familiar?

Compose a scene using these components. Choose colors, values and edges that will create a distinct feeling or mood. What if the birches are darker than the woods? What if you used only two colors? How about texture? Do you want to leave it out altogether? Exaggerate the patterns of the bark? No hard edges? No soft edges?

Make up the relationships between the shapes according to the feeling you want to convey. Serene, spooky, romantic, overcast, bright, surprising.
Would a carnival of colors enhance the feeling of serenity? If I make the trunks orange and the birch leaves blue but I hold on to accuracy of value, will that create an element of surprise?"

Ask yourself, "What choice will support my purpose?"
You're in charge.

Beginning Watercolor Homework 5/2/17 The Role of the Darks

In class we looked at the task of seeing what role the darks play in the big picture. A couple of questions that guide the inquiry are, "When in the sequence of layers do the shapes become defined?", and, "Can I be casual or carefree in the layers before the shapes take on their identity?"
The idea is to take advantage of seeing in advance when it is time to make sure the viewer can recognize what they're looking at. That knowledge keeps you from becoming specific prematurely.

We have seen that looking at the dark layer by itself often reveals whether those darks are responsible for defining the content of the painting. Sometimes you can see the role the darks play without even making a quick preliminary study.            

Merely squinting at the scene, above, makes it clear that the darks alone could describe the narrative of this image. Everything is outlined in dark colors! The green, the orange, the grey and even the blue 
could be blocked in very approximately and those darks would still pull the whole scene together.

If the image or scene you are interested in painting does not readily reveal the role of the darks, make a study of just the strong darks. If the study can be easily understood even without any of the light shapes or the middle values, then it must be the darks that are providing the content. If, on the other hand, the darks by themselves leave space and light ambiguous, it must be that the earlier layers play some part in establishing the identity of the shapes. That means you have to be careful at an earlier stage of the process.

Using the image you brought home from class, or one of these attached to this post, assess the role the darks play in telling the story. If you can do that without making a study, good for you. If not, please keep the study to 15 minutes or less. 

Make a painting that takes advantage of what you learned about the role of the darks. When you have a chance to be carefree, let the paint go outside the lines. The goal is UNDERSTANDING, not pretty pictures.


The smudge in the upper right is my finger, not exactly a major shape.