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Monday, November 12, 2007

The Value of Pink

I started this painting based on a great little photo a while back, mostly as an exercise in using the color red -- which then became pink -- (and then just kept going with it because the other thing I need to work on is finishing what I start!)
Anyway, the other day I realized that I really needed to work on values and hues, and was struggling with getting a good range of values in PINK. Kind of like I've struggled with getting a good range of values with YELLOW. Thinking I had this pretty much finished, I scanned it in. Then I changed the scanner settings to gray scale, and...




In grey-scale I could see that, while the values weren't quite as bad as I had originally thought, there were still some mistakes. Like the buds at the top left needed to have some lighter highlights, the open flower on the mid-left needed a better range to make it "turn" more ... and what in the world was that white speck??? Checking the color version -- there's a white speck there, too. Just a speck of unpainted white paper. ??? How did that happen?

So, I went back and made some corrections. The buds at the top were lightened as much as they could be ... I was afraid of scrubbing a hole right into the paper! (Oh, how I love my scrubbers...)

I learned:

(1) Always do a value sketch. Even if the photo looks good, still do a value sketch.

(2) I need to work more on pink ... and yellow ... just playing with value scales so I have more confidence and can use them loosely and with more spontaneity.

(3) I need to work on mixing greys and neutrals in a full range of values. I LOVE bright color, but a little goes a long way. There can be beautiful pure greys and neutrals, too...

(4) Review item #1 -- ALWAYS do a value sketch!

;-D
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Finished as far as I'm concerned. What was supposed to be a very fast painting became a great lesson instead. And that's alright. More than alright -- that's a good thing.
Did I mention that when I went to the bookstore the other day and picked up a Watercolor Magic magazine there was an article featuring a couple of paintings of hollyhocks by Robert O'Brien? I'd already nearly finished this by that time, and wished I'd seen the article first! So let's add lesson #5 -- Study your subject a little more closely.... (Do go look at his awesome paintings!)

11 comments:

Teri C said...

Geesh, this is gorgeous!!! I can't even see the values through all that beauty!!

I love all your words of wisdom! Thanks. Now if I only had a scanner. But I think Picasa has a grey scale. Have to look.

Lin said...

WOWOWOWOWOWZA!!! LINDA LINDA LINDA! THIS IS DROP DEAD AWESOME! Values, colors, variety, form, background -- OUTSTANDING, CARA, OUTSTANDING!!! AND your words -- TOO TOO GOOD -- and I too must do the same!! Thank you for such a lesson and a beauty for the eye!

annie said...

I am amazed at what you can see when you put it in gray-scale,which makes me think of when I was in school and we had to do that value strip beginning with white and working to black AND a color wheel. I always said I was going to have those two suckers professionally framed and hung on my wall as art!

seesue said...

The Before...the After...both so stinkin' beautiful. You amaze me!

Bonny said...

Hello from Lausanne, Switzerland! I managed to snag Rob's PC for a few minutes and read your fabulous post. I think we all need reminding of this "valuable" lesson. You make it sound so simple,so why not do a value sketch?
Love the painting, linda!

Arty Velarde said...

Beautiful painting Linda!

Sharon said...

The background on this painting is gorgeous, Linda. Watercolor backgrounds are difficult for me, so that's usually the first thing I notice. I love the colors you've used. (And thanks for the tips on the focal point. I appreciate your suggestions.)

Sharon said...

The values are also impressive.

minda said...

Dear Linda,
I did not think too much about value until now. I am still at the stage of discovery and hesitant to put science into art. Your "value" study is a big eye-opener. Thank you very much for sharing. Your work is beautiful!

mARTa said...

Let's add the value of sharing to your list....it is a good reminder to all that great art doesn't just happen (well it can I guess). It takes practice and planning and preparation, etc....thanks for reminding me of those things I all too often dismiss...
I could see the improvement in the second scan of your hollyhock...it's beautiful!

juj said...

What a great lesson - thanks for sharing. Hollyhocks are one of my favorite flowers and yours are just gorgeous!!