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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Stick with these tips and practice, practice, practice.

Upcoming OPA Events

Eastern Regional Exhibition 2021 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be hosted by the ArtCenter Manatee, located in Bradenton, Florida, September 28 through October 22, 2021. Learn More!
OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase
The Fall 2021 Online Showcase is from November 1 - December 15, 2021 and will be open to Signature and Associate members only. Learn More!
Western Regional Exhibition 2021 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held October 15 through November 27, 2021 at the Mary R. Koch Arts Center (Mark Arts), located in Wichita, Kansas. More details to be announced as they become available. Learn More!
31st Annual National Juried Exhibition 31st Annual National Juried Exhibition and Convention
The Thirty-first National Exhibition and Convention will be located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Convention will be from May 31 through June 5, 2022. The Exhibition will be from June 3 to August 27, 2022.