30 Days of Value Thumbnails – Day 9

mini painting color study bright yellow flowering bush in yard May 7 2019
Mini color study, “Before the Green”, 3×4 oil on paper

We just experienced our first spring in North Carolina, and I was excited to see that there’s a bush in our front yard that blossoms with the most amazing yellow flowers in the spring. After it glows with these little yellow flowers, they all drop off and it just becomes a rather ordinary green leafy bush (which is what we saw when we moved in). I took several photos of it during its height of color, and one morning was particularly intriguing because of the fog in our neighborhood that greeted me.

My mini color study didn’t take long to paint — but that’s only because it’s roughed in! Capturing the character of the flowering branches would probably take quite awhile but it would be a good challenge. I imagine softening everything behind the bush due to the fog, which would help it come forward even more than the bright yellow color does.

Foggy day reference photo

Value thumbnail of simple shapes

Black and white value check of my color study

This one was done on lemon yellow toned paper. That wasn’t planned, but it was just the next piece on my board of prepared minis. It worked well with the colors of the bush and I could probably use that to my advantage around the negative shapes of the branches on a larger version.

One of my favorite things about doing these mini studies is that it’s finally sinking in that my values (four, in this case) don’t need to match the actual values in my thumbnail sketch…they just need to relate to each other in the same way, darker to lighter. I’m sure I read it a million times, but it didn’t actually make sense until recently!