Focused practice: 3-value block paintings

For this week’s focused practice, I did value studies from life using the colored wood blocks again. But this time instead of 4 basic values, I used 3 values on two different versions. One version was 2 light tones and 1 shadow tone, and the other version was 1 light tone and 2 shadow tones.

Daily Art 08-13-2018 3-value 2 light-1 shadow and 1 light-2 shadow still life painting exercise
Day one: On the right are my 5 values. I used the two values on either side of middle grey for this exercise, to give a greater emphasis that the tone was in the light or shadow family.

Daily Art 08-14-2018 3-value 2 light-1 shadow and 1 light-2 shadow still life painting exercise
Day two

Daily Art 08-15-2018 3-value 2 light-1 shadow and 1 light-2 shadow still life painting exercise
Day three

Daily Art 08-16-2018 3-value 2 light-1 shadow and 1 light-2 shadow still life painting exercise
Day four

Daily Art 08-17-2018 3-value 2 light-1 shadow and 1 light-2 shadow still life painting exercise
Day five

I first learned about an exercise like this from a blog post I read awhile back. The exercise that the post talks about is actually about taking 3 grey values and translating them into color. Which I want to do eventually, but wanted to get some specific practice in on just determining the placement of those three values.

It was so fascinating to see how the mood of the study shifted based on the number of lights or shadows. This has also been great practice for painting from life. I drew right on the surface (poster board) with a small filbert and mid grey paint. My underdrawings were very messy! It was so tempting to clean them up, but I kept pushing through and since the paint is opaque that mess underneath isn’t even visible. I’m working on embracing the ugly stage and not letting it stall me out. This sort of exercise has definitely been helping me with that.

When I drew the second study each day, I went back to the still life and drew it from scratch rather than copy the first one. This gave me more practice seeing and drawing from life.

I really liked doing this set of value exercises. The biggest challenge for me with these was making the call on what’s in shadow compared to what’s just a dark colored block. I haven’t fully resolved that in my head yet, so it’ll take some further contemplation and study. I’m thinking it has something to do with the notion of relative value vs. absolute value…

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