Understanding value – An exercise

Typical of the amateur painter is the lack of contrast in the works. Maybe it’s due to lack of drawing, value drawing (with pencil) is a good way to get a feel for the differences between dark and light. Drawing is the basis for all image creation, it is good to practice. Differences in value are an important part of the experience of a painting. Coloring is all very well, but without contrast a painting often becomes flat and dull.
Here is a small simple example of a watercolor motif that can train the feeling for value. It is also a good exercise in wet on wet technique. The painting is made on Whatman 280 gr paper with largely only ivory black.

STEP 1 

Choose some white objects, I chose a coffee cup with saucer and a small bowl. Place them on a white surface. Choose a light source that provides clear shadows, I used a regular desk lamp.

Draw the motif. Paint a background, be careful with the lines in the cup and the bowl, you create these using the background. If you paint extremely generously, the paint creates beautiful patterns. Only black is used.

STEP 1 

STEP 2 

Wet the entire surface on which the objects stand with clean water, there should be plenty of water. Let it rest for a while and then paint (before it has started to dry) the shadows wet on wet. Avoid working with this surface for too long, it is better to leave inaccuracies than to try to correct them and destroy everything.

STEP 2

STEP 3 

Now let’s get to the cup and the bowl. The best way is to start from the back and let the outline of a front object be created when you paint what is behind. Therefore, start with the back bowl. Soak the entire outside of the bowl, leaving the inside of the bowl dry. Paint the values wet on wet. still only black color is used.

Continue with the coffee cup and the dish separately. The technique is all the time: Soak a surface with water, paint wet on wet when it is moderately moist. Let it dry completely and then continue with the next surface.

STEP 3

STEP 4 

I chose to paint an apple with COLOR! as a final step. This adds nothing to the exercise but perhaps allows you to put up with looking at it.

STEP 4

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Moacyr
Moacyr
1 month ago

One color only?? This is real reaching! I only have Arches 140 Lb, cold pressed. I think you use rough, don’t you ? Small is what size aprox?

Moacyr
Moacyr
1 month ago

Tack! I really like the texture of the paper in your paintings. I’ll get some rough texture because the colors look so much nicer

Mr. S.
Mr. S.
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

I have access again and I’ll continue my exercise! Are you teaching in person again?

Mr. S.
Mr. S.
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

how long are they?

Mr. S.
Mr. S.
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

30 hours, that’s pretty cool.

Mr. S.
Mr. S.
1 month ago

I couldn’t download the PDF. It tells me there is an error

Mr. S.
Mr. S.
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

Ok, thank you! I followed your pictures here… I don’t think I got it right, it doesn’t look like yours (the shadows, the background was fine)

Mr. S.
Mr. S.
1 month ago

A picture is attached

BC5E595D-0825-46E7-9B98-7744611EE080.png
Mr. S.
Mr. S.
1 month ago

In order to post a comment I have to log into my goggle account. I used to be able to use my name and email. I don’t think I have your email or at least I don’t know where to find it here. I don’t want to mess up again so I don’t want to wander about your blog and get blocked again. My email is moacyrsantizo@gmail.com

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