Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Watercolor Demonstration Using Value Studies

As always, I refine my reference photo into a black and white value thumbnail study, before I ever lay the brush to paper. In the first half hour of painting I lay in most of my light and middle values, being careful to retain the light areas as needed.  

The finished painting of the "Hanging Door". What started as a fairly ordinary photo of an old shed turned into a very dramatic watercolor painting with lots of contrast at the edges.
In this classroom demonstration I selected a small snapshot photo and showed how to develop my composition using a value study. I always start a painting in this manner, using a very dark, a very white, and a middle gray to develop my ideas. I am looking for contrast of value. When we see contrast we identify it as an edge. When we see edges we see shapes. Notice how carefully I placed the elements so there would be light against dark edges. This was done in my September St. George two-day workshop called "Painting Old Stuff." Some of my artist students are shown working on their own paintings in the photos below. Notice how they are using their own sketchbook "value studies" to work up their paintings. Good students! See more painting demonstrations.

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