After doing studies focused on light values and then middle values, the next topic is dark values. For my subject I chose a photo I took of a river edge surrounded by red rocks and green shrubs at Zion National Park. Zion is incredibly inspiring and it was during that trip that I thought I might actually enjoy plein air painting.
|Photo from our trip to Zion National Park|
As Dianne says in her lessons, studies are freedom to explore, to make discoveries — not about making finished paintings. I like to keep that in mind when studies aren’t going the way I’d like, as was the case with this one! Some things I explored and discovered:
- Roughing in a notan without establishing key relationship points causes me a lot of frustration. I spend a fair amount of time fighting against poorly-located elements and get distracted from the real point: lost edges in the dark values. A notan thumbnail would probably be a good exercise before starting on the panel.
- In creating the darkest dark accents at the end, I went overboard and created visual disruption in the lower right.
- The brushes I chose didn’t give me the nuances of softened edges between different hues in the dark value areas. Or I just don’t know how to use them in that way yet. (Time for one of my favorite things: brush shopping!)
- In the light areas and shallow shadow areas, I explored the feeling of placing strong brush marks rather than blending them away. I like that affect, but there’s a lack of unity with other areas. I also made strokes that follow the shape of the rocks, which I really like.
- I pushed the intensity a fair amount which contributes to a hectic-feeling study. I have such a hard time reading color and value on my neutral grey palette. I love the theory of a neutral grey palette, but in practice I struggle with it. For my next study I want to use a white paper palette and see if it feels better.
- I stayed with a relatively large brush the whole time and discovered that experience feels quite different from switching to a small brush for finer details toward the end.