Monday's lime, oil on canvas, 6"x6". (As you can see the value study below was done from a different point of view than the painting in color.)
On Value Studies
A student asked the following question about the value studies:
“I think I understand why you want us to do a value study first, but I’m still not sure how to translate black/white to color. Therefore, I’m not sure I’m benefitting as much as I could from the value study. Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated.”
This may not be a satisfying answer but I think that simply grappling with it over time will help.
-Working with black and white frees us up to focus on what is light or dark without being distracted by color. This understanding of the light/dark pattern of the composition will then inform your painting.
-Sometimes when working with color it is hard to tell if one color is a lighter or darker value than another. The value study allows us to figure out first what the value pattern is before considering color. We can then use this as a map for the color painting.
-Another benefit to the value study is that it is a chance to work out the composition. As is the case with anything you do more than once, that effort will inform the next effort.
This warm up exercise in value and composition can help you hit the ground running with the painting in color even if your conscious brain doesn't feel like it really understood the value study.
Value study with scale, 8"x10", oil on canvas panel.
Painting class demos. First we mapped out the values (light/dark), especially helpful when trying to represent the patterned background but still aiming to create the illusion of space/depth and an overall harmony in the picture.
Demos from today's oil painting class: a black and white value study, color study on a yellow ochre ground (the background was also a golden color), color study on an ultramarine blue ground (with a dark blue cloth in the background of our still life). Palette: yellow ochre, lemon yellow, cad red, ultramarine blue and cerulean blue.
Value studies from Monday's oil painting class. Yet again this exercise proved itself; by the third one the students' confidence and facility both in observation and paint handling had improved exponentially. Almost like magic-I really do think that 99% of success is just showing up.
10"x8", oil on canvas. This was an attempt to get the whole thing down quickly. At the grocery store last week these plums announced themselves, I brought them home, put them in this Moroccan dish and they've been our painting class subject two weeks running. (Watercolor sketch here.)