Saturday, February 21, 2009

oil study #46

My best results so far have been when I follow my initial value sketch, but I have a hard time to stick to it. This is an example.

I like that the light is all the same value with different colors. I thought I did as well on the shadow side until I made a black and white version of the photograph.

The reflection of the lid on the tea pot stands out a little too much (parts of it are too light and others too dark). Moreover I ended with 4 values instead of 3 like I planned in my initial sketch. The background and the shadow side of the flower stem (the thing coming out of the pot) are darker than initially planned (being the 4th value). The surface should have been lighter than the shadow on the pot... Why is it so hard to follow a value sketch?

This is the initial value sketch (2 x 2") with 3 values (light, medium and dark).


Bob Barker said...

Good morning, Johanne,
Your journey has become a great tutorial for me and an inspiration to attempt my own photographic experiments. I learned some things from my last attempt, which I have not shared because it ended up not demonstrating very conclusively anything worthwhile. I did find that there was a significant amount of blue in the natural light highlights of my white milk jug but with the incandescent light, I only managed to get a warm yellowish tinge to the white jug - not a hightlight. This was, I think, a fault of my equipment, or a lack of imagination on my part.
Your use of the term "value" is still problematic for me. I get it with respect to your pencil sketch and can even see it as applied to your black and white picture, but soon as you apply the term to the colour, I am lost. I am starting to think that perhaps I don't really need to understand the usage of the term. The trouble may be that I see shades of a colour as being different colours (as in the 16.8 million colours of the RGB scale), not as a different value of the same colour.
I'm going to keep working on this, though, and I continue to enjoy trying.

Johanne Morin said...

what I've learned in painting is that you should be able to use any colors as long as the value structure is good. The painting should still work.

Do you have anything similar in photography?

When it comes to colors I have the same problem as you to see the values. I've been working hard on that for the last few months. The warm colors like the yellows, reds, and the intense (bright) colors are giving me a lot of trouble. It gets worse when I try to compare the value of a warm color to a cool color (like blue, violet).

One way to help see color value is to squint. It blurs the details and makes it easier to identify light, dark and in between. Then you simplify what you see into 4-5 values to make a painting. I know it's 4-5 values for landscape and I assume it's similar for still life.

I'll post some color values exercises I did in oil before I started to paint the oil studies.

I still have to work hard at values and it's a priority for me to improve this aspect of my painting (beside learning to handle the oil medium itself :-). So you'll hear more about values...

Bob Barker said...

Thank you, Johanne. That would be very helpful.
I have not read that widely in digital photography, but I have not ever read anything about "values" as we are speaking about them here. I am certainly going to keep an eye out for it.