Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let's pay close attention to value.....shall we?

(Value study from photo reference, oil on 8 x 10 canvas panel)

Yesterday, in my artist discussion group, pastel artist Michael Fisher shared his preliminary value sketches with us. He showed us that he did a comprehensive pencil sketch plus an additional pen sketch before beginning a painting. He goes to that much trouble because 1) he wants to be very certain of his design and values and 2) he actually enjoys the decision-making process. Michael generally uses just three values plus white. I often do a pencil sketch before beginning a painting, but I haven't used pens very often. I wanted to try out Michael's "system" today, so I bought some Tombow pens in just 3 values. I chose a simple but dramatic black and white photo reference (thank you, unknown photographer, who provided a nice composition--half the work was done for me). I sketched the scene in pencil and repeated it in pen. Then I mixed up values to match the pens. I placed the three values where they belonged in the painting... and though there are a couple places too dark I'm satisfied that this is another good value exercise. Proper values is where it is at! Next time I'll do another painting, assigning colors (that match the values) to the same reference.


























1. photo reference 2. pencil sketch 3. pen sketch 4. pens and paint 5. final painting

24 comments:

Marie Theron said...

Now this is something totally valuable and as an end result you also have a nice moody painting that reminds one of the silent movie days.

Mary Jane said...

I love seeing those sketches and how you took it through to the painting stage. This is such helpful information! One cannot help but come away a little wiser about how to approach the act of painting.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

Celeste the result for me is full of poesie, you are a grat artist, very good with shadows and lights, very sensibility

i like you so much

Ralph said...

Awesome work so glad that I stumbled apon your blog I will now be following and seeking to learn more. Thank you so much.

Susan Roux said...

It isn't an exercise, but if you want to check how close you were achieving correct values on past paintings, you can turn your images to black and white in photoshop. You'll probably find your art was standing up to the test all along!

Thanks for sharing. Its fun watching your "improving" process.

AutumnLeaves said...

This is gorgeous, Celeste! Ann Gorbett, who paints with palette knives, recently did a black and white photo reference painting as well. I believe she decided to keep it in the black and white in her painting to also work with values. I love these types of painting, both for seeing the magnificent talent of the artist, and for seeing a piece of timeless history. The woman in this scene...I am reminded of Audrey Hepburn...

Kathy said...

This is a great way to construct a painting. When I paint in oils I first paint a grisaille, but I tend to use 5 values. You have a great technique!

Manon Doyle said...

Wow! I think your sketch is really beautiful. Marie is absolutely right in that it does remind me also of silent movie days.

Caio Fernandes said...

lovely lovely post ....
and beutful "colors" too .

Kaylyn said...

Now this is really interesting. I have a feeling this is going to have a really 'valuable' affect on your paintings.

Mariano Zucchi said...

Hi Celeste,
Thank you very much for showing us the exercise. It is a very good one at that. You made a nice composition and painting, it show the love you have for oils.

Jasmine said...

I love to see the stages of a work. So interesting to see you work. Thank you xJ

Art with Liz said...

This is great Celeste! Thank you for all those hints and tips. I seem to learn so much from this blogging fraternity.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

The values carry the day when you get them right, as you did! Which Tombow markers did you use? Super results down the line from sketches to painting. Next in color?

ArtSparker said...

Striking effect....it would be an interesting exercise also to take a daylight scene and render it as a nighttime one...

Dean H. said...

Excellent accuracy from photo to value to painting!

I have the 6 Pitt Pen set called "Shades Of Grey". used 'em a few times just sketching. Maybe should get a bit more serious with them.

I make the mistake of not pre planning my paintings. Make decisions as I go along...many times to my regret.

PAMO said...

Wonderful! I so appreciate you sharing how you got to the final result. And I love your painting too!

Kerri Settle said...

Great post! I recently purchased a few neutral gray Copic markers myself to get better at working on my values, which I know is what makes or breaks a painting. As Stapleton Kearns says on his blog, "Color is a decoration you hang on your painting." It's just hard to see past color sometimes!

hwfarber said...

Again, beautiful. I like seeing the sequence of your work--thanks.

Kitty Wallis said...

are a fine teacher as well as a fine painter. Very generous, impressive, Lovely.

Ann said...

Wow, what a great painting!
This is a nice reminder of how great a painting can be if basics like value are remembered.

rob ijbema said...

a valuable exercise,hehe
sorry celeste,
couldn't resist,
great image,well executed!

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Values are just sooo important. Good reminder, great post!

Sheila said...

I know I'm a little late to the group, but I wanted to make sure I had time to really take in every word and study each photo. Values are my Achilles heel and this is a very valuable method in strengthening that weakness. Thank you for taking the time to share this with all of us Celeste!