Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tippette #13 - Think VALUE...not COLOR.

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor).  One per day...during April...right here!

We're almost halfway through our month of daily watercolor tippettes.  Do any of you have one that you'd like to share with my readers?  If so, write me and I'll give you credit!  Give me your tip, along with at least one image and I'll be extremely happy to share it with everyone here!  Now on to today's tippette:


Think VALUE...not COLOR.

When I demonstrate for my students, I often get asked what color I'm using to paint this or that.  It inevitably catches me off guard, because I don't think about the color as much as about what value I'm going to use. (Value refers to how dark or light the color is.)  You use value to accomplish contrast.  To make things look like they're receding into the background, use a lighter value for those things that are progressively further away.

Now, let's look at this black-and-white version of one of my paintings.  Without peeking at the image below it, try to envision which colors I've used to create this painting.  (For those of you that already "know" this painting, humor me!).  

Black-and-white of "Walk with Me" by Helen K Beacham
Could you tell that this is a sun-dappled path that leads from a somewhat shadowy, cool foreground to a sunny background?  Of course you can. Yet you have no idea what colors I've used.   So...what colors did I use? Green?  Yellow?  Brown?  Where did I place them? What other colors do you envision?  

Now let's scroll down and see the finished piece.  Are you surprised?  Why or why not?
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"Walk with Me" by Helen K Beacham

My painting holds together, not because of the colors I chose, but because the correct values were used in the right spots.  If you're concerned about whether your paintings have the right values, either use a photo-editing software to convert a photo of your painting to black-and-white (or grayscale), or you can take a black-and-white Xerox of it.  Then really study it to determine whether your painting holds together based on your values.

In a future tippette, I'll discuss how I mix my paint to accomplish values - See you right back here tomorrow!  And thanks for sharing my tippettes with your friends!  I've enjoyed meeting many of them!

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www.helenKbeacham.com

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