Is this a difficult concept to master, or what? Well I just learned once again why it sounds so easy but can sometimes be so difficult to do. There’s a lot written and taught about this concept dealing with colors, values and shapes For artists who practice this concept regularly, it can mean the difference between having an okay painting to producing a great one.
I’m in the process of painting four sunsets. The underpaintings were completed and yesterday I started layering oil pastels on the first painting. About 45% had been completed, when I realized I didn’t read the cloud values correctly. I thought I saw a dark mass of clouds (almost black) because they were in front of a setting sun. A simple black and white photograph would have shown the correct value ranges of the clouds. In reality the clouds while dark were actually higher in value than the foreground land, which actually read almost black. For me, a lesson learned. I hope I can lighten the value enough without turning the clouds into mud – the painting will posted in a couple of days.
I researched the concept and found a couple of things about “painting what you see and not what you think you see” that I wanted to pass along:
- Youtube video, 5-part series by William Gelvin at Gelvinstudioofart which was good for helping to solidify this simple concept. Just know if you check out his lessons, he talks a lot and the final painting is a little sloppy – he acknowledges that because the example wasn’t about the end result, rather how he got there. I walked away with the concept fully reinforced.
- DPW Painting Challenge further explores the concept with “The 10 Minute challenge” that helps you focus on painting what you see. I plan to do my challenge and will post (yikes, I’ve never painted anything in 10 minutes) my results at a later time. The link is: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/challenge/1a9d96cc-c3f6-4ea1-ac8d-f0634f8c2369
- Here is an article by Keith Bond, http://keithbond.com/blog/13675/a-painters-dilemma-paint-what-you-see-but-not-how-you-see-it, that he correctly calls “A Painters Dilemma.”
I know to get better, I must spend the extra few minutes before I paint to see my subject as shapes, colors and values.
Anyone else ever face this dilemma?