Monday, June 7, 2010

Values Values Values!

get that scrolling finger ready. i want you to bust back and forth between yesterdays post and the ones i did today. i just took the painting from the other day (it was dry) and painted over it changing up different shapes with different values, still keeping to only five (mostly equally divided)

so here we go.

Heres a black and white photo of the reference material so you can see what the "original"looked like.

scroll up and down from yesterdays post all thru these and see which one is the most pleasing arrangement of value shapes. this ones the worst of the bunch. i dont like it as well as the one from yesterdays post with the water darker. the t-shirt doesnt look as sun filled because i dropped the value of it to keep it darker than anything in the light (remember the rule) i think i just found out i'll have to break that rule on this one for the sake of the painting. we'll see.

lightened the shadow and i like it much better but the fish and the tshirt shadow are the same. maybe i can break them apart somehow. also the darkest darks look spotty

this is the one i pushed the light group tighter and pushed the darker group together causing a bigger gap between them. Tshirt shadow in too dark and again the really dark values are spotty. but i did darken the water

this one i like all the relationships except the skin in shadow, its too dark. it makes the head look too isolated, like its not attached. this one works everwhere else so all i have to do is lighten the skin in shadow on the face and neck and voila! i see that ive GOT to keep the water darker than the shadow on the t- shirt for this to work. i loved the sunlight on it and thats why i wanted to paint it. so this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that youve got to DESIGN the painting and dont conform to 'rules' and surely not to the photo or real subject matter IF it makes a worse painting.
wish somebody had told me that four or five years ago!
not wanting to give up easily on Carlsons four planes/four value hypothesis i went back and read two chapters out of his book to find out why the water might be darker than anything thats upright and i found this. he says in the book that the horizontal plane is usually the second lightest shape, with the sky being first. but that doesnt count for situations like if its manmade such as a white house being lit up. of course the white paint would be lighter than the sky because its manmade white paint. also if the sun is very very low in the sky its strafing the horizontal plane making it and the sky darker than normal with all the light hitting the upright and front facing planes. so in the case of this water i think the light is really low and the sky is darker than if it was midday or early afternoon. that makes the shirt really really white and the shadows of the shirt are facing the warm light sky against the darker sky (on the opposite side of the sun) making it appear very light in comparison.
very wordy explanation but worthy of consideration. this painting thing is a thinking mans (womans) game and we must study light if we're to paint it correctly. hmmm. that sounded very studious didnt it. but its sooo true! consider these things when you are painting. everybody's worried about getting a certain color right when we can see from the last few days that the overall pleasingness of the painting is more about value than color. you get value right and the color thing will take care of itself. and this coming from a true colorist himself!

an answer from the comments section: asking does it matter that i didnt make the distinction between the water being darker on the left and lighter on the right. here's my answer:
J- the idea with value plans like i'm doing here is to not make distinctions and gradations. the point is to make "big" decisions about how the large masses will relate to each other. in the actual painting these observations will be fleshed out.these value studies or when youre blocking in your painting you want to ONLY put in the average value/ my opinion thats why alot of peoples paintings go sideways. they want to put the candles on the cake while they should leave it in the oven, get it done and then tweak to your hearts desire. things like gradations, hilites (small light shapes on the light shapes, accents(small dark shapes on the shadow shapes) and reflected light should be done at the very end when all the value shapes relate properly.


Judith said...
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Judith said...

Oh by the way. I find these value sketches very interesting. It is fascinating to see what shifts in value can do.

mike rooney studios said...

judith- the idea with value plans like i'm doing here is to not make distinctions and gradations. the point is to make "big" decisions about how the large masses will relate to each other. in the actual painting these observations will be fleshed out.hope that helps

Judith said...

I think I've got it now. You are my hero for being soooo patient with your students! I will be doing a lot more thumbnail sketches with values to check them out. Thanks a bunch.

mike rooney studios said...

glad to be of help
paint on!