VALUE: the dark, the light.
How to understand value and communicate it correctly in your work is always the challenge. VALUE, more than color is key to a successful painting. Values explain the landscape and reveal what is happening with the light on the forms. Color can be distracting and often keep us from creating correct value relationships, so taking a photo and making a black and white copy can help by showing: lightest light and darkest dark, patterns of light and dark, and the 3 dimensional qualities of objects in the landscape.
I like to use a black and white sketch or photo because it frees me up to use colors of my own choosing - as long as they fit into a strong value pattern. See below.
I used the center photo from the group above, for this little 6"x 8" demo. Except for the foreground, I followed the value pattern but wanted to emphasize the light in the sky and on the mountain, so combined the foreground value shape with the mid ground value shape.
Bye the way - viewing your work in black and white can show clearly if the values are working.
I read on Monday that Punzsutawney Phil saw his shadow; if he lived in Colorado that wouldn't be very remarkable - we all saw shadows Monday because it was a beautiful sunny day in the neighborhood of the Sangres (S.Colorado, near the Dunes National Park). Patrick Myers, David Montgomery, Sue McCullough and I drove up into Zapata Ranch for breathtaking views of the San Luis Valley, all the way from the Collegiate Peaks south to New Mexico. The Zapata area offers an unbelievable variety: long views, snowy peaks, pinion trees, desert-type terrain, Ponderosa forests and deep aspen glades. It is hard to keep from driving up and up and up, because the views are so amazing and the mountains so inviting - you might find yourself having a "Sound of Music" moment. No twirling allowed . . . .
And how do you please 4 painters? - When you find yourself having a "video store moment", everyone saying things like "What ever you want, I don't care what we watch- oops, paint". . . .
My conclusion is - that you have not found the SPOT. Well, after a little of both, we pulled off and suddenly the apathy was gone. We all headed out in different directions and I set up with a very dense wood at my back. I could hear a running stream but also rustling and branches being broken - this is the kind of thing that can creep you out when you're in the woods. Come to find out it was Dave, set up deeper in the trees where the stream widened. Of course, then came the inevitable discussion about wild things in the woods - besides ourselves.
Click on any of the photos to see them larger. My piece is just below in the next post.
A little lane, lots of snow and already signs of Spring. I painted with the music of a running stream behind me. Dave summed things up perfectly as he strolled out of the trees, "best job in the world'.