Thursday, August 25, 2011

the value of value

Early one evening over the hot weekend we took a refreshing walk in the shallow part of the Cedar River near our home. Lazy-summer memories of swimming in the Green River as a child came back to me. A magical time involving all the senses.

Back in the studio I wanted a pastel sketch of the river scene in preparation for a larger painting. For me to paint a scene more than once, there has to be some additional challenge or experiment involved or I quickly become bored.

This time I focused on value as I mindfully selected colors based on value first and color second. To help me stay on track, I inserted a piece of slick, non-archival foam core into an unused metal frame and divided it into five values. Then, as I selected and used pastels, I placed them in their appropriate slot on the value palette. Working this way instead of intuitively picking up many many pastels to see which ones work limits the number of pastels I use. I don't know if that is good or bad but I do know it is fewer pastels to clean and put away when the painting is complete and the slick foam core cleans up with a damp wipe.