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

OPA 2019 Western Regional Exhibition 29th Annual National Juried Exhibition
The Twenty-Ninth National Exhibition and Convention will be hosted by RS Hanna Gallery, located in Fredericksburg, Texas, from October 16 - November 28, 2020. Learn More!
OPA Summer 2020 Online Showcase OPA Summer 2020 Online Showcase
The Summer 2020 Online Showcase is from June 5 - August 15, 2020 and will be open to Associate members only. Learn More!
Salon Show 2020 Salon Show
The Salon Show will be held August 13 - October 3, 2020 at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, GA. Canvas Size: not to exceed 864 square inches. More details to be announced as they become available.
Western Regional Exhibition 2020 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held September 4 – October 2, 2020 at the Montgomery Lee Fine Art in Park City, UT. More details to be announced as they become available.
Eastern Regional Exhibition 2020 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be November 20 - December 19, 2020 at the Reinert Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, SC. Canvas Size: not to exceed 1,200 square inches. More details to be announced as they become available.