How many of you like exercising? Don’t everyone raise your hands at once. For a lot of folks, like my wife, exercise is something to be avoided. Don’t ask, she just isn’t gonna. She chose her engineering college based on the fact they didn’t offer a phys-ed class. Fortunately for her, she eats healthy and walks about three miles a day at work.
However, for the rest of us, we choose exercises that will increase our cardio, strength, or flexibility. Similarly there are painting exercises that can stretch and strengthen our brushes and consequently our finished work.
Take for instance, the value study. It’s pretty basic. To me, it’s akin to doing a push-up in the gym. You can use 4 values (black, gray-black, gray-white, and white), 3 values (black, gray, and white) or 2 values, (black and white). You can work from real life or a photograph. It’s pretty straightforward.
Over this past year I’ve been busy eating my proverbial bag of potato chips instead of doing my value study push-ups. However, this week I decided to put the bag down, wipe off my greasy hands and start doing my studies. I put all of the color away (sigh) so I could purely focus on value.
This was going to be boring – no color for a week? Aargh. What was I thinking? At least that’s what I thought on Monday of this week when I started. However, by the end of the first value study, the light bulb over my head turned on and I saw the sure genius of the value study. I was hooked. Stoked. Giddy.
How on earth did I miss it? I did 4-, 3-, and 2-value studies all week. Using the same photo each time, using different photos, using a still life set up. It was a whole new door opening up for me. Now I want to understand value. I want to see how value creates shapes. How it works inside a scene. How it plays with color.
I’ve always been partial to an Edgar Payne painting. His choice of color is only staggering because of his choice of value. He, in my mind, figured out how to balance a value-priority painting with a color-priority painting. He found the sweet spot between the two. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.
Until next time: Connect | Engage | Unleash