4-value study of a mountain cabin

study in 4 values mountain cabin Feb-28-2019
4-value study

Study topics

Making a strong 4-value plan before painting a color study; color temperature of the light; atmospheric perspective.

Process notes

Broke the scene in a reference photo down to simple shapes and 4 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.

Building off what I learned with the previous study of this subject in 3 values, I tried making the color of the light more consistent throughout. I used the principle of color relationships that I read in The Painterly Approach by Bob Rohm:

“Viewers perceive certain color relationships as symbolic of different lighting situations. They see yellow light and purple shadows as morning light, neutral or white light as midday and orange light with blue shadows as afternoon or evening light.”

Mixed color on the fly rather than pre-mixing color families.

4-value plan in black and white, and color block-in

What I learned

I liked using 4 values instead of 3 for this particular subject. It helped me separate foreground, middle ground, and background better this way.

And I loved working on that mountain in the distance — I used a technique of making the whole mountain the same basic value and distinguishing the sunlit areas with a warmer version of the same value. I find that relationship subtle yet intriguing. I used the same approach on the tree line in the middle ground by adding a warmer green to the sunlit tops without changing the value much at all.

In the end I think it looks more like late afternoon/evening light because of how orange the sunlit areas look, especially on the near trees. To get it closer to morning light I would have needed to use less red on the trees and in the meadow.

On the black and white value plan, I wish I had used the dark-middle grey on the sunlit portions of the trees in the foreground. It would have given a more accurate vision of the ultimate value structure of the study. But on the whole I really enjoyed painting this one and I love how it turned out!