values, color, intensity

Finally I give you a workflow of my acrylic painting classes!

First, we were to pick a photo/magazine spread that we liked enough to spend some time painting. I chose something relatively simple so I wouldn’t lose faith in it (from istockphoto.com by the way, I’m only using this for personal study). After we chose our photo, we were to do an “under-painting”, IE use a neutral color to map out all the light and dark values of the photo. With color, highlights and shades will look very bright and dark based on surrounding colors; however, taking the saturation out of the photo will reveal it’s truth and allow you to see, more realistically, what the values are. This was my introduction to “matte medium” as well, something I’d never used before, or even knew what it was (thins the paint allowing for transparent washes).

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Next we studied color and how to use it to bring out a painting. We created a color-wheel (mine’s a bit off and I plan to do a more serious color wheel in the future) to show the relationships between colors (ie complimentary, etc).

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This gave us enough information to start layering colors on the under-painting. The following class, my favorite so far, discussed intensity and how to achieve it using complimentary colors. I’ve always wondered, when seeing a painting of the sun bursting through the clouds, how they could get the sun to appear to be brighter than white, how to make it glow. It’s all about complimentary colors. Observe the palettes in my painting below: if you take your hand and cover up the brightest/darkest squares on either side of the bars, notice how it creates completely different palettes. For example, covering the orange reveals a cooler forest palette; however, covering the blues reveals a warmer forest palette, even though the only difference is the color on the extreme.

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Here’s how I’m applying all of this to the lotus painting, so far:

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