Analogies and metaphors have always played
an instructional role for me to understand something new.
Lately I have come to think of "value studies" in art like
underwear, or perhaps even the footers, of a painting.
In other words, a critical part of making the final effort hold together.
Recall these value studies done in the Andy Braitman workshop:
The two pieces on the left were both started from the same photograph and done in three values: dark, middle and light. From this foundation I had a recipe for making the final effort hold together and flow as I had predetermined I wanted it to go. Let me show you how each piece took on its on look.
Using the same color palate I decided to take one piece towards the cool and the other much warmer. Putting away my reference photograph I got bold and let the rocks and water take on their own forms. Even the background trees and skies began to be different in each painting. The key was to keep the darks in the black zone, the light colors in the white areas and tie them together with mid tones of different colors.
I love the idea of layering colors as I build the piece overall. It takes a lot of patience to paint, sit back, think, let dry (while I literally write down notes so I don't forget them) and then start again. I found that the slower I went the more I had a cohesive plan to execute.
This piece is 30" x 24" and definitely has a cool, closed-in feel to it. I think I have "been here" many times on my hikes. The water moves gently and has lots of colorful reflections in it and the rocks have a mossy feel to them. On the other hand...
This version feels more exposed to the sunshine to me. The water is moving fast and furious and I can hear the water falling as the sun heats up the rocks. At about this stage I set it aside and my kind husband gently informed me that my crashing waters had no discernible direction...in other words, they did not read true. And I agreed: water flows downhill, not up!!
I thought about the changes and, not losing the energy of the foreground, was able to paint a more believable flow upstream. I still feel the sun in this version although there is very little sky to confirm it. I feel like I have been here as well. Both locations are clearly different although they started with the same reference photo and then took off in different directions. As long as a landscape is reasonably believable and touches something we can relate to (moss, heat, cool, sounds of water and such) it can be "of" any place you want it to be.
I like both equally but you might prefer one over the other. Can you articulate why?
ROCKING OUT IN COLOR,