It's Not About Color!, 9x12

"It's Not About Color" 9x12" Pastel on sanded paper SOLD

Converted to B/W to see if my study was on track

The source photo.

Today I held a private lesson with my student and we were going over the study of values and their importance over color. It's a difficult thing to get right even for the more experienced artist and that is why I continue to work on them every so often. I find them really exciting, full of odd colors but as well as a playful way to break out of a creative block. The first image is what I created followed by the b/w conversion (to check for accuracy as well as the source photo.

I select 12 colors ranging from a scale of 1 to 9 on the value scale. I take the 12 colors and set them in groups of 3 each, giving me 4 overall value blocks for my composition. From there I start with my darkest darks and then gingerly add my lightest lights to establish my value range. The rest is just juggling and comparing the values back and forth with each area until it all comes together. Kitty Wallis teaches this in her workshops and it is one of my favorite studies to do. "Value does all the work and color gets all the glory."

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Anonymous Vanessa said...

Absolutely loved this post Brenda! I certainly find it difficult to juggle both colour and value but I'm always told that value plays the more important role as that is what ultimately gives an object its shape.

I like the idea of blocking your colours into "value blocks". That would make the process seem a bit easier, I'm going to give it a try during my next colour piece for sure! Thanks for sharing this with us.

8/9/11, 5:36 AM  
Blogger Casey Klahn said...

Your student is a lucky student!

On your 1-9, are 0 and 10 black and white? Another trick I use for value handling is to choose either a simple 3 or 5 value scale, excluding the poles of darkest and lightest. The odd number gives me a midtone.

Still another lesson which I'm sure you've done is to paint an image in grays and then go back in with colors. The whole project is so fun it is amazing it isn't illegal.

8/9/11, 7:54 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I like what you've done. I sometimes lose my contrasts. Another thing to do is choose three colors randomly, mix value ranges of all three from lightest light to darkest dark then paint using the full palette you've just mixed.

8/9/11, 10:27 AM  
Blogger Brenda Boylan said...

Hi Vanessa,
Glad you liked this post, thanks. Next time you do a value study or are working with color, try switching my creative mind over to the analytical side and think just "values". This helps me tremendously...trying not to feel the color at all.

Thanks Casey,
Yes, I believe the 0 and 10 are black and white. I don't put them into this exercise because these two extremes have no color, but are pure contrasts of value. Illegal? Yes, a little like painting in the nude in the middle of the street! HA! Way too much fun!

Hi Jenny thanks for your comment.
I like your suggestion. I think I might try that one for my next value exercise and see what comes of it. :)

8/9/11, 3:24 PM  
Blogger Celeste Bergin said...

beautiful painting...and it is really fun to see how you "got there"!

8/9/11, 10:55 PM  
Blogger Kim Vanlandingham said...

Great and helpful reminder for all of us!

8/10/11, 12:01 PM  

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