3-value study of a mountain cabin

study in 3 values mountain cabin Feb-26-2019
Landscape study in 3 values

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 studied the colors in it and then converted it 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 plus black, testing swatches of color against the plan along the way.

Mixed puddles of color for the trees/grasses, mountains, and cabin. My approach was to make shadow, local color, and sunlit variations for each hue, and then add greys as the scene went into the distance.

3-value plan in black and white on left, color study on right

What I learned

By spending more time looking at the colors in the reference photo before converting it to black and white, it helped me slow down and take a closer and more analytical look at the subject. I thought about what each of the basic hues would do as the subject moved in and out of light, as well as receded into the distance.

I ran into trouble with the middle ground group of trees and the trees on the mountain — I had them both the same value in the initial plan, but as I worked it made more sense to distinguish between them. I also had trouble where the sky shape met the mountains because they were the same value as each other. I tried to remedy this with a cloud behind the mountains.

I feel like the sense of bright sun is lost quite a bit in the foreground. I experimented with making my colors more neutral, but I’m not sure how well it holds together from front to back.

I like the warm and cool areas on the mountain, and what’s happening in the foreground.

Next time, I would use 4 values and more clearly distinguish between the planes. And also make a more deliberate choice with the light temperature, carrying it throughout.