3-value study of coastal rocks

study in 3 values sea rocks Feb-23-2019
3-value color study

Study topic

Making a strong 3-value plan before painting a color study.

Process notes

Broke the scene in a reference photo down to simple shapes and 3 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 my standard limited palette of colors, testing swatches of color against the plan along the way.

Before converting the photo to black and white, I made notes about basic hues I saw in it.

I started two hours before dinner which put a time limit on this exercise. I spent roughly the first hour doing sketches and value planning, then the second hour painting the color version.

3-value black and white painted sketch, with the resulting color study on the right

What I learned

While it’s definitely nice to be using my limited palette of red, blue, and yellow again, I’m still getting back into the swing of it. I took just enough of a break from it after the 100 Starts project (where I used it exclusively) that my color mixing is rusty. The colors in this study are much more intense than originally intended, but rather than working over it more and more I decided to live with it for awhile and see what I think after time passes. I do think it has a more dynamic and lively feel than if I had lowered the intensity of the colors. I didn’t spend time determining what I wanted the mood of this study to be before starting, but if it were going to be a finished painting it certainly would have helped me to do that step early on.

The intensity of the sunlight in the reference photo is lost in my study to some extent because the value range is slightly compressed and my middle value is a bit too dark.

It’s a lot of fun to convert the reference to black and white before moving on to color mixing! Next time I’d study the color photo for longer to get a better sense of the full environment and what’s happening with the light.