Sunday, July 02, 2006

July 2 - Second Day of Lesson Painting

Second "mental mindset" of the process of painting begins with the laying in of the middle values.  This painting will be slightly below mid-key, which means there will be a dominance (in area) of middle values; a slightly smaller area of darks, and then the littlest area (square inches) composed of the light values.  Since I'm aware of this going in, I can spend a goodly amount of time working on variances within the middle value range to create interest in these non-focal-point areas.  The theory about balance of values comes directly from Edgar Whitney, an American watercolorist and extraordinary teacher who wrote a book on painting. Most of the book is about designing good paintings, and I've adopted his "Mama, Papa, Baby" balancing of values as explained above, to my work.  He talks about six value plans, that have proven to be most desirous on our eyes, and which make good paintings for collectors. 

So these middle values are being embelished and made interesting before I even begin to paint the focal points.  They of course will be subordinate to the final brush strokes.  I'm using my Color System palette, staying with warms in the sunlight and cools in the shadows and grayed colors everywhere.  Why? Because grayed colors pause the eye, and allow the viewer to "get" more out of the painting.  I can remember standing in front of a Leslie Humphrey oil a year ago and just in awe of her mastery of grays.  The only semi-pure color in the piece was in the tail of the horse going over the brush.  I understood what she did with that painting, and how masterful it is.  Most artists don't mix good grays, so their work doesn't captivate the viewer.

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