4-value study of Lombardy poplars

study in 4 values Feb-22-2019
4-value color study

Study topic

Making a strong 4-value plan before painting a color study.

Process notes

Broke the scene in a reference photo down to simple shapes and 4 values. After painting the plan, I converted the photo to black and white in order to not be influenced by its color. To paint the study, I used the limited palette of cad yellow light hue, naphthol red, and ultramarine blue, testing swatches of color against the plan along the way.

I mixed the colors from memory and what I’ve been learning about the color of light and aerial perspective.

study in 4 values Feb-22-2019 grey and color
4-value plan and painted color study

What I learned

Ever since doing a series of 4-value studies in greys I’ve wanted to take it to the next step by painting a color study from the grey plan. I’m only sorry I waited so long — what an awesome exercise! By starting with a strong value plan, it made the next steps more enjoyable for me because everything was worked out and I could focus on mixing the colors I wanted to use.

Thinking critically in the early stages by sketching thumbnails, deciding which value to place where, and choosing what from the photo to keep or change resulted in a much stronger composition than if I’d winged it.

Converting the reference to black and white really helped me design a better color study. It removed the temptation to use the colors in the photo and alleviated that internal struggle of which color to use and which to change.