Posts Tagged ‘lost edge’

Lessons of Value, Part 1

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

I thought it would benefit my students this spring to see how to create a good range of value without simultaneously dealing with the complicating factor of variable colors.

There were several previous lessons I wanted to reinforce. But the primary lesson I wanted them to learn was to focus solely on value changes, ignoring color entirely. So the assignment was to create a monochromatic painting in the single hue of their choice to act as a base layer, over which supplemental color would later be glazed. I elected to work in indigo as my underlying shadow color for “Stones in Shell Dish” (#110307).

110307 Stones in Shell Dish (monochromatic study)

I began with a drawing that depicted only the hard edges of the still life. We used gradation to achieve soft lines and lost edges. It was not an easy assignment. But I think it’s safe to say that everyone learned a lot about painting shapes instead of objects, creating graded washes in both large and small areas, achieving smooth transitions from one value to another, reserving highlights and reclaiming light areas that had been lost. They also learned to recognize that visible lines meant there was still work to be done—increasing value on one side or the other of the line until the drawn line disappeared and the value change itself was all that marked the division of elements.

Next time I’ll discuss the finished, full-color version.