Tips for your Toolbox

"Good night sleep tight" by Bill Farnsworth

“Good Night Sleep Tight”
Bill Farnsworth

I hope this blog finds you well and painting.

Here are some tips for your tool box as you try to achieve the next level. For starters, we need to know what’s wrong with your painting and how to correct it. There are two major problems, value, and shape.

VALUE
There are 9 values in painting. 5 representing the middle value and 1 and 9 representing white and black, then there are 3 light values and 3 dark values.

I have found the best way to is to start with a “known value.” It may be the sky or your darkest dark. I usually start at my focal point where you will have your lightest lights and darkest darks most of the time. In the block in stage, you can create a 3 value relationship. A dark, a light and a mid tone. If they are all near each other, you can compare everything off of these values. Comparing the values next to each other will create a bench mark for your painting.

SHAPE
As we determine a value, we have to consider what shape it is. Seeing shapes is nothing more than drawing. The key element of drawing is seeing the angle of a line and general mass. Look for intersecting lines and the overall silhouette. Work your big shapes to small shapes. Remember; You are always drawing while you paint.

Now, after you feel you have gotten the right shapes and values, let’s determine the color and its temperature.

COLOR TEMPERATURE
You have two ways to go with color; Warm and Cool. 

If the color looks muddy on your painting, it’s because the temperature is wrong. Mud is not the color at the bottom of your brush washer tank. Mixing paint is always a challenge for students but doesn’t have to be if you have a plan.

First, determine the color family of the shape you want to paint. Stick with just simple two color mixing in secondary colors, like orange, green, purple, etc…. Next match the value (most important). Then modify the color temperature and chroma.

Too many students get hypnotized by color and lose the most important goal. Don’t worry about capturing that special color, instead focus on getting the right value. If the value is right and the color is somewhat close, you will be fine. Your painting might be overall cool or warm and will still work because of how each color relates to one another. It’s all about comparisons.

EDGES
When everything in your painting looks right, consider your edges. You should have sharp, soft, and lost edges. Edges will make your painting believable.

PRACTICE
Stick with these tips and practice, practice, practice.

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  • Tina Swindell

    Excellent post! Thank you. Sharing with my painting buds.