- Lesson details
In this video lesson, instructor Bill Perkins will give you an introduction to en plein air painting, or “painting in open air.” Bill will begin by going over some unique challenges you will encounter with plein air painting, such as choosing your intention for your piece, finding the right frame, and how to work with changing light conditions.
- Prismacolor Ebony Jet Black Pencil
- Grumbacher Artists’ Oil Colors
- Hog Hair Bristle Brushes – Filberts
- Palette Knife
- Silicoil Brush Cleaning Tank
- Gamblin Gamsol Oderless Mineral Spirits
- Metal Paint Scraper
- Canvas Panel
Discuss this video in the forums!Discuss
or painting in the open air.
Bill will begin by going over some unique challenges you will encounter with En Plein Air painting,
such as choosing your intention for your piece, finding the right frame,
and how to work with changing light conditions.
You will learn how to create a matrix of your painting.
as well as how to group values and identify contrast and textures within the scenery.
Finally, Bill will illustrate these concepts in a
demonstration oil painting of a harbor scene.
Plein Air painting. The reason I want to set up that way,
I just want to be really clear about how you approach your painting, and how you set up and so on.
I'm going to go through some steps of what you should think about when you go outside
to paint. What do you take with you and how are you prepared mentally to just jump into
this? Because once you get out there the lighting is going to change. You’re going to have
weather conditions. You have people or other situations going on and you really want to
be staying focused on what your intention is.
I’m going to go through some of the basic problems that you’re going to run into when you first go out there.
If you’re going out for the first time or if you’ve been out before, these are all
going to sound familiar if you have gone before. If you’re coming out for the first time
to do Plein Air painting, these are the things that you want to have prepared or in
mind when you get going on your work.
One of the first problems that people run into when they go out and paint on location
is composition. How do you deal with creating a composition when you can see in 360?
You can look all around. You can see everything all around you. You might be overwhelmed with
stuff. It’s like, I like this, I like this view. You like all these different views,
but what is it that you’re going to settle on and paint? And more than once, many, many
times, I’ve actually gone out, set up, started painting thinking I really like this; this
is what I want to paint. I’ll start painting for a little while, and then all of a sudden
I’ll reach for my paper towels or something, and I’ll turn around behind me, and there’s
a better view there. So that’s usually a result of possibly not thinking it through
completely, but that is why I want to bring these things up because from my experience
of a lot of bungling along the way and kind of finding my way to get more of a proven
approach that will actually make your job easier and be more enjoyable along the way.
So that’s really the idea.
Now, the first thing, again, like I say, the first thing is how do you set up a composition
or how do you arrive at a composition? When you can look all the way around and you’re
getting all these different views around, how do you settle on the one you like? One
of the easiest things that you have with you all the time are your fingers. You can just
make a window and close one eye. You can look and frame what you want to see.
Your canvas, if it’s horizontal or vertical or a square, whatever you’re working on, you can always
be flexible like this and move things around. Horizontal, vertical, square; you can do whatever.
You can look through that way. But that doesn’t resolve how you compose within that.
Because even though you do that, you’re still going to be a little bit distracted in terms of
what is a little too big or what is a little small. It’s the scale of the space that
you really need to get a handle on.
If you’re working in a studio or you’re working from a photo, you have a 2D image
you’re working from. Even if you’re working from a model you’re at a minimum distance
and at a minimum depth. But when you’re outdoors and you’re doing a En Plein Air
piece, you’re trying to absorb all this spacial relationship and all this depth, and
you’re interpreting that into a flat 2D image for the first time. So your brain does
have to jump through a few extra hoops in order to do that. A lot of people find that
kind of complicated. Just understand that that is one of the things that’s going on
in your head when you’re trying to adjust to this new scenario or this different situation.
One other thing: When you’re trying to decide what angle and stuff has more to do with your
intention. That’s one thing that’s kind of tied to what interests you.
That's the second thing. So when you look around—actually it’s probably the first thing that you’re
going to encounter. You’re going to look around and you’re going to say, okay, I
want to paint this, a building, a bay, a mountainside, a valley, a tree, a garden, whatever it is
that you’re choosing to paint. You’re going to make a selection. Now you really
need to define what that is that interests you. Not just that’s pretty, I feel good
about that. Those are too vague. It’s far too vague. It’s a good starting point.
It's a good place to begin. I like that. It interests me. It just makes me feel good. Okay, well,
that’s a good place to start. But then you have to break it down.
Truly, take the time to break it down.
So again, we’re going to look a real proven approach to how you can build success in these
Plein Air pieces. When you decide this is what I want to paint, now you need to go
through a series of questions and be very specific. One, what is it exactly that interests
you about this subject? Is it the effect of light? Is it a color arrangement? Is it the
subject matter itself? Or is it a combination of the things? Write those down.
That's what your sketch book is for. It’s not just for doodles. It’s writing down your intention.
Clarifying your ideas so that when you get to hit your canvas, you’re putting the things
down that are important to building that image. Okay, so that’s really, really important.
So you need to get an understanding of really what’s going on.
When you go outside just realize that the most intense light source outside is the sun
in a natural lighting situation. You have two light sources, two major light sources.
The first is the most intense. That’s the color of the sun. That’s the most intense
light. The biggest light source outside is the sky. You have two things to deal with.
That’s why there are a lot of En Plein Air painters that avoid painting in midday. They
might avoid painting midday because they say, well, the color gets flat, or the shadows
don’t look right, or it’s not as dynamic as a sunrise or sunset. Well, it’s true.
You won’t have the form breakup that you would in the morning or the afternoon. Meaning,
your composition might not be as strong in terms of streaking shadows and hard lights.
But what it will do, the other difficulty in midday, and I think this is the misunderstanding
that most people have, is they look at it and they go, well, the light is not right
or it’s kind of flatly lit. Well, just to understand what’s going on, when the sun
is directly overhead, it means your most intense light source or your sun is coming from the
same direction as your biggest light source, the sky. And when both of those light sources
are lined up the color mixes, and that’s what you’re seeing. You’re seeing the
effect of the intensity of the sun and the light of the sky mixing in the same area.
When that happens, yeah, sometimes you’ll get the warm light of the sun, the cool light
of the sky, and that will flatten out some of your colors.
So the second thing is in terms of that orientation, your point of view, where you are.
Are you standing up? Are you sitting down? Are you looking down? Are you looking up?
That's also going to have an effect on that relationship. Understand the physical condition of what’s
going on out there. It’ll help you with your visual interpretation, what you’re
going to put down. Then you want to look at your personal safety. I know this sounds kind
of crazy, but you really need to consider it because a lot of times you’ll be looking
at a view and you think, oh that’s great. I want to paint it. And you find yourself
sitting on the fence on a hillside. Be really careful that you’re not going to drop your
stuff off the edge or yourself off the edge. Don’t position yourself in a place where
you’re going to put yourself in danger.
So that's just another precaution I want to put out there.
The next thing is lighting your canvas, lighting your setup and your light condition and where
you are and how you set up. Basically what you want to do is you want to make sure that
you’ve got your canvas that you’re working on and your palette are lit with the same
lighting condition. You don’t want to have your palette in shadow and your canvas in
light because you’re mixing colors that you’re going to be putting on that other
surface. You want to get those surfaces at the same light level. Now you can’t always--if
you’re painting outside the direct sunlight, if you put your palette and your canvas both
in direct sunlight, for a while you’re going to be looking at white canvas. It’s going
to ruin your perception of what you’re looking at there. Because you’re going to be looking
at that stark brilliant white and then trying to perceive the colors accurately as you can
and then back and forth, and it’s just too complicated on your eyes to do. So it’s
much easier for you and a bit more accurate if you shade your palette and you shade your canvas.
The more you can protect yourself from ambient bounce light, the more accurate color you’ll
both see, and the more accurate color you will paint because what you’re doing is
you're making sure that you’re not getting false read on your canvas and palette.
You want to block the ambient light as much as possible on those and see out the full sunlight the best you can.
So an umbrella above might block the sun if the sun is up above. It also helps if you
have an umbrella behind you that will block any kind of ambient fill coming in this way as well.
The next thing, and this is the most challenging thing to a lot of people is the amount of
time and the time you spend on your painting and the sun changing.
Now, when you decide on what it is you want to paint, and you see that this is the right moment, the right time
of day to do that, then you need to be aware of how long that’s going to exist.
And I'll just show you a little demonstration here.
This is the earth and this is where you are. If the sun is up above, just directly up above
here, in this zone up here you’re going to get the longest amount of stable light.
As the sun comes up over here in this zone it’s going to be less time in here and a
little bit more time, and a little bit more time. As you go into the afternoon—this
is in the morning—and the p.m. over here, what’s going to happen here.
As you get later in the day what’s going to happen is these, this time frame is going to shorten,
shorten, and shorten. So your exposure, the color of the light, the temperature, and the
shapes, the shadow shapes and stuff are only going to be in place for a very short period
of time. Now that becomes a big source of concern for a lot of people. And getting used
to that is one thing that’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to that.
But just understand that the later in the day the fewer minutes that you have to do a painting.
What I would really suggest is instead of taking a big canvas out there for a short
period of time and try to get the whole thing done, just go back in the same weather conditions
and work on the painting a little bit more. Often you’ll work on a small sketch.
I'm going to work on a small sketch today. It’s just for a demonstration in a time restraint.
But if you’re going to paint larger outside go back again and again. That’s kind of
the best thing, and then wait for that moment when the sunlight is the same and just paint
during those few minutes and have the restraint to stop because you don’t want to design
your painting. Once your design, if you design a painting, and let’s just say that you’ve
just designed, you’ve created a painting, and you have a house over here and the sunlight
is coming in from this direction over here. So this side of the house is in shadow, and
it casts a shadow on the ground like this. As the sun comes down that shadow is going
to move. That shadow is going to come all the way out to here. It’s going to be very
different. You don’t to be chasing your shadows. You don’t want to have to redraw
and redraw. Because what’s happening, the color temperature and the colors are changing
as well. And if you want to get that effect of that moment of that time of day, pick it.
Is it later in the day where your shadows are long. You have a short time to do it,
know that. Find the moment, design it, and paint it. Or, if it’s earlier in the day
maybe you’ll get a little bit more time to work on it. But when you design the shapes
like they would be earlier where they’re a little shorter like I demonstrated there,
then what you want to do is pick it and stay with it. Because the time you go in there
and try to readjust the shape you’re going to have to readjust the color as well. You’re
going to be repainting and repainting and repainting as your time is running out. So
just be aware of that. That’s another thing. You’re up against the time clock and it’s
ticking. The amount of time that you have, that’s going to change too.
The one thing that will help you, be very specific about what it is you want to paint.
Be very clear about what’s going on.
So I'm going to do a little demonstration.
I have a photograph. I’m going to be showing you the photograph and you’ll be able to
see that while I’m working on it or back and forth, I want you to see what’s going
on or what I’m working from so that you can understand that a bit more clearly.
But understand, I’m a terrible photographer and I will rely on my color choices on location
far more than I will on my photograph. So that’s a big difference. That’s part of
my intention. That’s part of what I want to do as a painter. It’s part of my personal
idea about painting. So that’s real critical for me, is color relationships.
on location and all of that, but the real important thing is your intention. That’s
what I want to deal with right now. So if you’re going to go out and do a little painting,
do a small painting out on location what you need to do is define for yourself, what is
this painting for? You know, to what end am I working on this painting? Am I going out
to replicate what I see? Is that my exercise? Is it a case where I’m going out to capture
something that I see? Am I out to capture the feeling that I’m feeling when I look
at that. Those are two different things. So what is my intention? How do I clarify my
intention? What do I want? Do I have a certain statement that I want to create?
You know, oftentimes artists will look at, will be painting from life. But we also have
to have a strong impulse. A strong impression of a feeling, an idea, or an opinion about
what that is. When we put that into that piece, that’s when our work starts to get personal
and significant. Ask yourself clearly, what is your intention? It’s like, okay, I like
this. I framed it. This is what my idea is, or this is what my composition is. But now,
is that selling the idea that I want to project? Catch yourself there before you just zero
in and start drawing it up. Ask yourself, what is your intention? Is your intention
the study of light? Okay. Is it the study of light?
You want to look at the color relationships and capture that.
If your idea is studying the effect of light then what you need to do is you need to understand
one thing: That capturing that relationship outside requires that you’re going to get
about seven spots of color. It’s real critical.
If you’re doing a study of light what you want is seven spots minimum.
Why? Because if you have light and shadow, or if you’re
in all light or all shadow, what you’re going to need is to capture a certain number
of relationships. Now, if you have light and shadow, that means your objects are going
to be in both light and shadow. You need to get three things that are going to be both
in light and both in shadow. So you can see, okay, the light on the trees looks like this.
The color of the light of the trees in shadow looks like this. That’s one set. The color
of the ground in light looks like this color. The color of ground in shadow looks like this
color. Now you have two sets: Tree, ground. Now, you could say, okay, the color of that
horse in light is this color. The color of the horse in shadow is basically this color.
Now you have the color of the sky. There’s your number seven. You need a minimum of seven.
Generally, you can kind of work from seven to about 15 spots of color. That's real critical.
If you're limited on time, which you will be, and you’re trying to capture the effect of that light,
what you want to do is define your image with seven to 15—no more than that—individual
spots of basic color.
Now, you put those color relationships together—again tree in light, tree in shadow; that’s one
set. Ground in light, ground in shadow; another set. Horse in light, horse in shadow; that’s
your other set. And your sky, there’s your seven. If you get those seven spots in their
proper relationship you’ll capture the effect of light. It’ll transfer in your painting,
and the audience will see it. It’s totally key. You have to have that. It’s not a case
of rendering. It’s a case of getting those seven relationships, as a minimum. If you
start going over 15…
if you start going over this your composition can start getting broken
down a little bit too much. That’s not to say that you only mix 15 colors or only seven
colors. What that means these are the base colors. Within those zones of tree in light/tree in
shadow you might have subtle value shifts and nuances. You might have color temperature
changes. Same thing in the light. If it’s in light you’re going to have some color
shifts and value shifts and temperature shifts. The sky is not going to be the same color
in one area as it is in another area on your canvas. So you’re going to get a little
shift there as well. But your basic spots are those that are the first impression of
those basic, larger proportionate group, or group of larger proportionate shapes.
Those are your principal colors that create that key of that time of day, that moment, that
effect of light. So that’s really important to do, is to map it out. I would even use
just numbers just so that you’re really sure you’ve got this and this and this.
Okay? So if your intention is about the study of light, you need to break it down in that
way. It’ll be so much easier if you do. Okay, and you can get at it.
Maybe your intention might be about color mixing.
With color mixing maybe you want to look at, maybe you’re going to make a cool painting.
Or maybe you’re going to make a warm painting.
Maybe you're going to paint a neutral painting.
So what’s going to end up happening is that is going to set your process, and it’s going to make you
adjust your point of view about how you view and how you put the paint down,
and the choices you're going to make along the way.
Your intention is extremely important because that’s going to dampen all of the choices
you make about, you know, while you’re in the process of making this painting that you’re
only going to get a short spurt of time to do. So be very, very clear about your intention.
The next thing is, is your intention a study for another painting?
If your intention is a study for another painting, then what do you need to do?
You need to gather data.
That's really what you need to do. And so it’s more critical than ever that you look at it from an artistic
point rather than a verbal point. Look at it from the standpoint of spots of color.
These are the things that are going to put relationship together or build the relationship.
You’re going to start with gathering data.
This is going to be a document that you’re going to build on top of.
If you’re doing a composition for another painting, so this might be a color study.
I’ll put color. Color study for another painting. You’re going to be gathering data.
If you’re going to be doing just compositional sketches maybe you want to do them in color.
Maybe you want to do them in value. That might be the arrangement of the shapes.
Let's just say that you focused on a particular composition, and now you’re going to be
looking at a study for another painting. You’ve defined what that other painting is going
to be, and now you need to capture the information that is going to help support that.
So these are kind of the initial ideas that we want to go through.
So your intention, again your intention is highly critical here because you really want
to have a clear idea not of what you want to paint, but what do you want to do with it.
What do you want out of your painting? It’s about your observation then about your
intention. It’s never about kind of this, kind of like that, and my intuition trumps that.
If you’re doing paintings where you want your expression to be the main focus
of your painting, then absolutely gather the information. Gather the direction. Gather
the background practices and procedures that you’ve been doing, and then work through
your intuition. That’s perfectly fine. But if you’re going out on location to gather
data, paint on location and be in that moment, you have such a rich opportunity to be in
that moment. Okay? And being in that moment is capturing those acute observations that
you’re going to draw from and pull and make satisfying. If you do that you can make a
lot of intuitive paintings from that.
Now, take a look at this image. I’m going to show you an image. I’m gonna write down
my intention for this painting, and this how my intent might be, how I might observe this
image. Okay, in this image—this is an image of Avalon Harbor in Catalina around sunset.
Now, I like this image because--I’m going to start writing this down: I like this image
because I like the dramatic light effect.
I like the composition because it's kind of open to the left. Okay?
And I’m also seeing that my arrangement of shapes in that composition
is, to me I can see that broken up in a real clear patterned way.
I can even make that more clear, and I will. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to take a
look at this image, and then I’m going to start breaking that down. Now, my first step
in my thinking about my intention and breaking down my visual is going to be just, you know,
looking at my basic composition here.
Something like this.
Actually a work a little bit more of a square because that's the format that I have that I'm going to be
working with. I have some palm trees in the foreground. I have a little bit of a fence
and a plantar in here that’s moving my eye both in space here, and this is also giving
a force this direction, which I am going to support that back in here.
This is the wall of the waterfront there. Okay, so now I’m going to move back, and I’m going
back into space here. I’ve got this little area in here now and my bay, where I’m really
seeing a lot of the effect of light, is on this mountain up here.
And so I'm going to break this up, and I have some buildings that break up in this area in here too.
Within this design, once I see that I’m going to look at my black and white design.
This is my initial matrix, and what I’ll do is I’m going to start with square one
with a matrix and show you how this intention breaks up. But again, dramatic effect of light,
and I like the composition. The breakup of the shapes is clear. Okay, so that’s going
to be my intent. I want to get the color to get the effect of light, and I want to use
these shapes and kind of play with the shapes on this in order to make a pleasing composition,
an arrangement of shapes. Starting with this image I’m going to design the matrix of
this image, and that’s my image that is broken into just black and just white.
I'm going to look for that arrangement, and I want to make sure that that black and white
arrangement of shapes is going to be pleasing.
Okay, now again, my intention, the effect of light. So I’m going to have these tall
dark shapes, which are these palms, in shadow.
Something like this.
These are going to be dark shapes. They’re not in the center.
They’re off to the side, and they're an arrangement that kind of takes up a certain
amount of space, and the space that they take up from here
to here is greater than here to here. It’s not equal. It’s greater.
So I’m going to move this in here. I’ve got some of the palm tree back
in here that's going to come down like this.
I have another one that’s like this. I just see the bottom
of that one up there. I just see the base of this one cause this one goes way in.
This one goes way in. There’s another one in here that I want to get because this has kind
of an interesting fronds that kind of come out here kind of like this. They come across.
This design shape that I’m putting in here creates a horizontal so it doesn’t fly out
of the frame. Our eye doesn’t speed along these lines. This slows our vision down.
I’m going to bring another one a little lower on this side. Why? Because this brings
our eye down here and back up in there. I’m going to reinforce this by making the mountainside
in the back go up like this and then slope down. Now what’s going to happen here is
I’m going to put a building right here. This is a building on the mountainside up
here, and it’s a lit up building, and there are some trees, eucalyptus trees in here,
and I find that kind of interesting. Up here it’s breaking up this edge. Okay, it’s
not all straight, straight, or hard edge, hard edge, but then we get this little broken
up delicate part here. And I get the shadow. My overall composition somewhere around the
middle in here I’m getting the water that comes in like this. And then my mid-ground
and foreground shapes leading us into this space.
Same thing here and here.
So this is my general description of mapping just the force of these elements. But then I’m going
to look at the light and shadow pattern because, again, that’s what I wanted to get in this.
There’s a little bit of a shadow from this building so there’s a dark spot there. These
trees are dark up here so there’s a spot there. The shadow cast down here like this
from this mountain there’s a building here even though it’s a white building it’s
in shadow. It’s going to come down like this. All this is part of my matrix.
All of this is in shadow. All of this is in shadow. All of this goes in shadow,
even the buildings that I’ve got going on here.
Now, in this black area and in this white area I definitely have different value groups,
but I’m going to put a light middle value in order so I can keep this edge because I
don’t white on white. I want just something that’s going to define this. So if it requires
a second element, a second value in here, only that I can hang on to these things then
I’m going to need to do that to hang on to it. Now, the thing that I also find is
interesting is the reflection in the water in the bay here. Way down here I see these
little ripples as the black of this mountain right there. As this shadow comes forward
it kind of comes like this, and as it comes forward it’s this mid-value that I put up here.
So these shadows are going to be like this.
So this is my matrix.
I have one...and two, just black and white. In this image I needed a third value, so I put this in to
retain this edge and also get that there was a reflection here to match this. So this is
my overall pattern. Okay, so I know this is where I want to be with my composition.
Now I’m going to look at my value grouping.
Given this matrix, I'm just going to draw this shape roughly in here.
So here’s my basic design. This is my strongest contrast in this image.
The strongest contrast is going to be within that matrix so that
keeps me clear and grounded. The next thing I’m going to look at is my grouping of values.
Now, it’d be clear and easy to say that this number two area contains all my dark values.
Okay? And the number one in here has all my lightest values.
Now, this area being in light is number three. This being in light has values in light.
So if I break that down into a gradient, and yes I do think about these things, and yes, this is a plan that
I would go forward with. I wouldn’t say, oh I like it and sit down and start painting.
I would kind of figure out how this works, and it kind of works this way. This is a full
value arrangement from black to white. What I would do is I would look up here and I’d
say, you know what, in my mind I would say, or if you want to do this on your palette
as well, then what I would do is I’d say the light of the sky and everything in light
is in an arrangement about this value, this range. So this is the range of my light range.
Actually, I’m going to expand it to include this. No, actually—you know what, let me
do this. In this case there’s some real richness in this mountain and down in here,
so I’m going to say this is not the mountain. This is one, okay; and two,
the values in two are going to be way up like this.
This is group two. Light range, shadow range.
And my three, that mid-area there, it’s going to be somewhere in the middle here.
And my key with this is, and this is how I’m going to deal with it, I’m going to take everything
in here off of my palette, these values and these values.
So that's the breakup of this idea. So there’s my first matrix, and then I go with this, and I can see in
this arrangement I’m going to see that my darkest areas in the shadow
might be down in here and part of the trees.
I’m going to do this quick because I want to get into the painting.
But this is the thinking, and this is the planning that I want you to consider
when you’re going to get in and do it. You have to analyze what is it that makes it the
way it looks, and if the lighting and the effect of light is my main objective, I need
to analyze it. I need to break it down and be very specific. What’s going on in this
space? Then I can design with that. I can design with that idea. So within here the
trunks are a little bit darker than the fronds. So I know that. I’m going to make note of
that. I’m going to put that in there. Now the buildings are in shadow. The sand here
is in shadow, but they’re the lightest things in the shadow. I’m making sure that they’re
right like there. So I’m going to put those, I’m going to make sure that I have that.
Within this building there are dark windows, and I am going to want to take advantage of
some of those shapes. The building over here has some dark windows up here. There’s a
little roof on this one. It’s a little bit darker and so on. There’s the ground on
here that’s a little bit darker. There’s a simple shape in there. The wall is light.
This is light. There are vertical posts along the water that are darker than this.
Again, in this ground there’s a very light wall here, and the sand is just a little bit darker,
so I’m going to darken that. I’m staying within this value group. Let me go to the
shadows here, within the shadows here there’s lighter buildings. This is a lighter building.
This is a building on a pier and some boats in shadow. They’re going to be my lighter
elements in here. There’s a road up here. That’s a lighter element. There’s more
buildings up here that are lighter elements. Then I’m going to go to the shadow of this.
But these lighter elements, still they stay within the shadow group. Now this is the value
grouping that I’m talking about. Everything in the shadow area needs to be darker than
everything in the light area even if it’s a white building in shadow compared to this
rich hillside of other values. Now there are some other buildings in here that breaks things
up in kind of an interesting way. The breakup on these buildings back here is different
than the breakup of some other things which I’ll get to too.
So now I’m going to be looking, I’ve covered my shadow area. That’s the group in here.
So I have my light, I have my shadow in here. Now I go to the midrange. I’m going to get
this dark shadow in here, and I’m going to go to the midrange. The midrange I said
was in here. There’s another building up on the top here and the shadow from that.
There’s some of the trees up in here, shadow from that.
Now if I keep this in this midrange like this,
I’m going to start to get the difference between this area and this area.
And I can get this water effect like this in this area, and I can see right away that
this needs to get a little bit darker because it needs to separate clearly. I want to be
clear about how the light is treated in this image. Okay, so I’m going to darken these
things down a little bit, and I’m going to see that this planter, this dark area in
here, the handrail banister here, is lighter than that.
It’s darker than this and lighter than that. So this is how
I'm going to set my value group in there.
Okay, now within the narrow range in here I’m going to have this, but I’m also going to have-
this water is in shadow and it's reflecting the sky, but it’s also in shadow. The water ripples are going to have
different surfaces. They're going to tilt towards you. They’re going to tilt towards the sky. When they’re
towards the sky they’re going to be this value. When they’re tilting towards this back here
or when we see the reflection of that in there they’re going to be this value. When they’re
hitting or reflecting an area of this, it’s gonna be the darker area. And because it’s
not a crystal-clear mirror, it’s going to be darkened slightly down. This area here
is in shadow, but it is reflecting some of the light, so I’d go way to the top of this
range here, and I’d put that in there, but I’d leave some gaps because it is going
to be reflecting the sky a little bit.
That gets me closer to this range, but it’s all
based on this totally black and white or with this other third value. It’s based on that
so I have to do this first. Then I group my values accordingly.
Understand what your design is. Don’t try to jump straight into this because what will
happen is your values will get out of control. You can see it’s easy for me to arrange
these because I know the range I have to stay in now, but I only would have broken this
down after I did this and identified those areas in my matrix.
So my next step, this one is going to be a value grouping. Now I know I’m not going
to be able to render this. I know I’m not going to have time to do that. I’m know
I’m not going to be putting little details on here. But what I’ve done is I’ve given
my simple design matrix, that enhances that effect of white that I want to do. I can push
more contrast in that so I know this whole zone in shadow needs to go a little bit darker,
and this whole zone in light needs to go a little bit lighter. If I was going to make
it a subtle day, I’d still want to do a matrix. So I would be very clear where that
subtle shift is between light and shadow if there is one. Or maybe it’s local values.
I need to design the matrix according to the lighter or darker areas and plan that out.
The nuances within the light area, the nuances within the dark area, that’s your value grouping.
That’s what I mean by value grouping.
I’m going to go back and look at this simply because I know I eliminate the word rendering
and detail from my vocabulary. Those are two words that are based in our
verbal vocabulary, but if you’re talking in visual terms,
you’re looking at the area of your composition with the highest concentration of small contrasting
marks. Abstractly, that equates to the effect of detail.
If I use the word detail, if I use the word rendering, I’m going to immediately jump
to labeling this, I have to render the texture on the side of
that building. Rendering implies you got to force detail into the side of that particular
building. Well, if I’m thinking in visual terms, and
I’ve started with my matrix, and then I’m looking at my value groups.
I can go back towards my matrix here and say, okay, if the area of detail or focus is going
to be the area of my composition with small contrasting marks,
now I’m going to look at it and say, oh okay, well, where are the areas and which
in these zones, where is my texture? What’s the breakup here? I’m looking at
my shapes. I’m not going to talk about detail or rendering.
I want to get the effect of light. Where am I seeing the least amount of texture or breakup?
And where am I seeing the most amount, and to what degree? What kinds of arrangements
of shapes? Well, the greatest contrast might be in my
area up here. That’s the highest contrast that I have up here.
It’s my darkest darks against my lightest lights and these dynamic shapes in here.
So this area up here is going to be a lot of high-contrast.
Then, if my exposure more towards that light, and I’m not overexposing it, then if this
is my hillside back here, this area in light here might have more variety
of value breakup in there or any kind of a breakup.
Temperature, color difference, that kind of breakup might be in there. There is a certain
degree of breakup in there, and there’s a little more than this here.
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to put a little here,
and this breakup is going to be of this nature.
So I see more breakup in this and even those outside the form here like that.
So that’s part of this design. Now, the nature of this texture or texture in this
zone down here is not this; it’s this. So I’m claiming my texture is different
in this zone than it is up here. That’s really important.
So there’s this type of texture. There’s minimal texture here. There’s no texture.
So I’m getting more here of this nature, a little different, similar values but a little
darker and different texture in here. I’m getting some texture in this sand, but
it is kind of simplified in there like that, and in this dark area here I’m getting some contrast.
It's not a lot of texture in there, but there is some within the plants. There is some breakup in there.
I’m getting a little bit more contrast and texture. That’s value contrast.
This will be the trees up in here.
Okay, so that’s what’s going on there, and then I’ve got the trunks of the trees. For those there’s kind of a
texture in there too. Now, within the buildings here,
within these buildings there’s a texture as well. What’s the texture? Big simple blocks.
These are the simple breakup of these buildings. So the nature of the breakup or texture in
this area is different than this, different than this, different than this. And you’re
going to see a hierarchy. If you break it into zones, what has the most
texture? What has the least texture? Because I’m not going to be rendering detail,
I want to know what’s my relationship of textures that I’m putting down.
And if I’m doing something that is more impressionistic, what I’m going to be doing
is I’m going to be looking for the simple arrangement of the base values in their groupings.
Then I’m going to be looking at the color, temperature, saturation levels within those
different areas, and I might say one area appears to have more
color variation or hue variation or range of saturation than another area.
But I break that down into these particular zones.
Then I can paint accordingly so that my painting has areas that are simple and areas that give
the effect of more breakup or different character of breakup in one area than another.
Okay, now that I’ve set up my palette, you can see that I’ve got my colors around here,
and I have my canvas in here. I’m just going to do a little small sketch.
On my palette I have titanium white, cadmium yellow light, raw sienna, cadmium orange,
naphthol red, quinacridone red, cobalt blue, phalo blue,
phalo green, and black. I chose this palette because it’s a limited
number of colors. I kind of reduced it down to kind of warm and cool versions.
My yellow is a light and dark version. You can see that my raw sienna is a warm yellow,
a dark warm yellow. And I have cadmium yellow light which is kind
of a medium yellow. So I have a light version and a dark version.
If I'm painting darker yellows or bringing my yellow down darker, if I don’t have inherently
darker yellow on my palette that means I have to add black or other colors,
and I’m going to be shifting the hue and saturation level radically. So I want to make
sure for my extreme light value color right out of the palette or right out of the tube,
I’m going to have a dark version of that as well so it will be easier to mix.
I have an orange because we might move into some of these, my orange range, and I could
be mixing it with yellow and my warm red, but it makes it a little bit easier and doesn’t
take up a whole lot of room.
So I have orange, naphthol red is my warm red, and quinacridone red is my cool red.
So I have a warm/cool version of a red and a warm/cool version right in here, which is
cobalt blue and phalo blue. Cobalt blue is my warmer blue because it has more red in it
Phalo blue is more cooler blue because it has more green in it.
And then I have a phalo green.
Okay, it’s pretty potent, but I’d rather have full saturation at my disposal and knock
it down, take the saturation back, rather than start with dull colors and never be able
to get it. And then I have a black as well. So anyway,
that’s my palette and I’m going to paint on this canvas.
It’s a little bit different composition than what I have, then what I see, but I’m
going to go ahead and work it in here, and I can crop it if I need later.
Anyway, the way that I would start, again, I pick my subject; determine what it is I
like about that, and determine what I want out of it, or what I want to express in this.
And then what I’m going to do is I’m going to look at how I break up that image in order
that it expresses what I want it to express.
My first thing was I like this view over water and I want it across the water and the hillside
in this last glow in the afternoon. So I want to get the effect of this light
on the mountainside, it’s reflection in the water in this calm late afternoon scene
on this bay. So that’s the mood that I want to capture.
It’s in this middle value range. There are a couple of dark accents in here.
There are some high key things, some overall light images, that’s what I say about high
key. Overall light is my tonal key, my major tonal
key. My minor key is my contrast range. Because it is getting the effect of light,
I will get a good amount of contrast. So it would be high minor key as well, higher contrast.
In order to do that I’m going to, again, like I demonstrated before, I’m going to
start with my matrix of black and white design.
Now, if I’m out on location I might tone my canvas to knock the white off the canvas.
Now, if I do any color that I use to tone this canvas that’s going to end up being
a color key. It’s going to influence every other color I put on top.
So depending on what the images that I’m painting and when I sit down--I’ll never
predetermine or precoat a canvas with any color before I get there and see what I’m
doing. Because once you get there you may decide,
okay, it’s a subtle painting. Maybe you want just warm and cool temperature
changes. Well, take it from the impressionists who
dealt with that. They may have put a warm like a yellow-ochre wash over their canvas,
a thin, thin wash, a little warm tone because painting outside in that type of atmosphere
they had a lot of cool, reflected lights. So leaving a little of that warm showing as
they applied the cool on top of those fragmented brush strokes, it allowed more vibration in
that high value range. So if my painting is going to be more about
the contrast of the color temperature at a range, I might select a color that’s either—if
I want a contrast complementary to what I’m going to be laying over it, or if I want to
make it more similar I might just have a color temperature shift to get a little more vibration
out of it. Bottom line is I’m not going to add or put
a ground down prior to my painting. I’m going to wait to see and determine that
once I’m there and realize what it is that I want out of it.
That’s going to make me choose what I’m going to paint with or what kind of wash I’m
going to put down. So in a situation like this I might put a
thin wash down. The overall warmth of that hillside back there is my base. That’s what
I really want to feature, but I see it echoing through the shadow areas in the water reflection,
everything, just a little bit. Maybe what I’ll do is I’ll go ahead and
start with a little bit of a warmer wash to begin with.
Maybe I'll kind of get in here somewhere
somewhere with a very, very thin wash overall just to knock down the white of the canvas.
You see it’s pretty saturated in there.
Just going to thin it out a little bit.
And I might wipe it back.
I might start with a thin wash down there,
and then what I’m going to do is I’m going to look for creating my initial matrix, and
I’m going to do it with a little bit of a tone. Knock that down just a little bit,
but I’m going to do it with a little bit of my tone.
I neutralize this a little. Cool that off. Cool that off a little bit.
Might even get in here a like this just a little, something like this.
Okay, so now what I’m going to do is I’m going to look at my big simple shapes. I might
see that this is kind of where I want to go like I did beforehand.
This little hillside kind of went up here like this. This is my overall hill.
These are my vertical shapes in there.
So again, like my little sketch of my matrix,
I’m going to go back in and basically replicate my matrix here.
Whereas my shadow is going to come here, all down here.
I know there’s a little house there, and it’s in shadow so I’m going to go ahead
and keep that in shadow. All of this is part of the shadow mass.
So again, there’s my general matrix.
Okay, I know I’m going to have some texture and stuff in here. I’m going to add this in there.
I don’t want to have to paint up to something. So what I’m going to do is might paint through
and then paint back. You know, cut in, cut back. I might do a little bit of that kind
of movement, and that’ll kind of help out the effect of this spatial arrangement.
Okay, so there’s my design matrix. It only takes a second or a few minutes. You’ll get that
in there. But now I’m really clear about where my lighter areas are and my darker areas.
And I make it really clear.
Okay, I might want to set a dark to see where I’m going to go with this, so I’ll go
ahead and set a dark in these trees.
And it might get into something like this that this
might be some of my darkest darks in here.
Again, my sketch is gathering these masses.
Now, it’s not that I’m reckless with this. I want to get the major gesture of these shapes,
but I know I’m going to be cutting back. So I’m going to be painting the shape, painting
back into it, painting the shape, painting back into it. I’m going to be cutting back
and forth. I know that I don’t have to worry about my finished drawing or any kind of,
dare I say, rendering. I’m just looking at building my basic value relationships at
this point. I’ll back in with adding more and finishing some of this later. There is
another that is a little bit lighter and yellower, and that’s the area down here.
It's in this plantar area and there are some other plants in here. A little bit warmer down in
here in that plantar area.
These are some my darkest darks now, and I’m going to also see that
there is an area in my shadow shapes in here that are these dark windows and stuff.
I’m not going to make a big deal out of them, but what I’m going to do is I’m
going to go ahead and identify where some of those things are right now. And I’ll
go back and be a little bit more specific about them. But if I’m putting in my darkest
darks, I’m looking for where these little accents are.
I may go in and paint those over the top once I get going there. Once I do that then I can
go in and see what’s more similar or different. I’m still saying within this shadow zone.
I’m still dealing with the areas in shadow here in this dark zone. I’m getting some
of the warmer and cooler areas in this zone right in there.
Still within that zone the next kind of a darker area is this distant hillside,which I’m seeing is area that’s got
some degree of warm and cool breakup.
Neutralize that just a little bit with some of that orange in there. That’s more like it.
That’s where I want to go with this.
I see some variety in here. There are some little bits that feel a little bit warmer in here,
so I’m going to go ahead. Because I’m in this same zone and I know like before I
put a little bit of texture in these different areas, this is going to be some subtle texture
in there. And texture in this situation isn’t going to be just similar value, just temperature
differences in that little area there.
Okay, now I’m going to go ahead and kind of flush out these areas in my darker matrix,
the dark side of my matrix here. I’m going to see that a good amount of it is going to
be in kind of a lighter cool sand.
This is the cool sand along here.
I’m going to work with that.
Get a little bit of more cool in there. I need to lighten that up just a little bit.
There we go.
So I got a little bit of a cool warm but very subtle in this zone.
There’s a temperature difference in there. I also have more—this is a little
bit darker area up here. It’s this little plain that’s sitting up in this region up
here, and it’s a little bit darker than this down here, a little bit more violet,
has a little bit more of the red in it.
Alright. Well, I’ll be painting over some of these areas in here too.
Like I said, I’ll put on—kind of wax on, wax off. I’ll be painting some of the tree
trunks over this, but I want to block in just my simple shapes and then get them all together.
So I’ll kind of put things over the top of one another, vice versa. You know maybe
if I get a little bit of there, maybe I want to pull it back just a little bit if I’m
going to put those trunks in there and stuff I don’t want to get it to thick too soon.
So staying with my dark zone of my matrix I’m going to start mixing a little bit of
the lighter regions of that dark zone, but I’m still going to keep it together locked
in this pattern. So I can see that my palm trees, the trunks are going to have a little
bit of warm and a little bit of cool to them. Might be a little warmer up there. It might
be a little cooler in here as well. Let me get a little bit of this.
It's kind of in a neutral range so let me—a little of that mixed back in there. Cool that down.
There we go.
And I want to really kind of exploit the temperature differences in this too.
I see the differences in these tree trunks or these palm trunks is very different in their
temperature relationship. I want to make sure I get a little interaction there kind of warming
and cooling. At the same temperature or the same value structure, same value area, see
if I’m working in the same values and I get a little bit of different temperature
change, it adds a lot of interest in there. I mean even down in here if I get a little
bit of this mixed back in here it’s going to feel like there’s a little bit of bounced
reflected light bumping back up into these trunks. I’m going to get it, make it a little
bit on the greener side because that’s going to pick up some of the green from there. So
I’m building relationships at the same value level. These warm and cold temperatures changes
at the similar value level. And then some are a little bit darker. Sometimes the smaller
ones will get a little darker. They reflect less light.
Alright then. So now I had some buildings in this middle distance here. These buildings
over in this zone. They’re kind of like a—if it was just a color without any effective
light, it would be something along the lines of this.
Okay? Something like this.
But since they’re in shadow, the values can be dropped down a little bit. Okay, so if I cool that
down and darken that down it might get a little something like that. I am getting blue into
everything else, a little kind of a blue/blue-violet into that. I’m going to see how that mixes
into that, and I might go a little bit more with that range. That’s a little bit too
green and too dark. Let me get in here a little bit more.
That gets a little bit light in the back of this.
Let’s track a little bit here.
I’m going to get a little bit of broken color in here. I’m going to get a little
bit of this orange kind of reflecting. But you see, I’m doing it a similar value. I
can get a lot of temperature changes in here, and it won’t stand out abruptly because
it’s the same value. So I want to keep it in similar value. The upper building here
gets less bounced light from the ground, so it might end up being a little bit cooler.
If I got any color bouncing into that, it’s going to be reflected from the sky a little
bit. So this upper area here might just appear a little bit cooler like that.
Let me do that. Let me put this building in here.
Okay. I can paint through some of this too. I can put these windows back in afterwards
as well. I can reinforce those if I choose. There’s a little bit of a tiled roof in
there that’s going to be a little darker. I made this a little warmer. I’m making
it darker from this same value arrangement or the same value pot over in here. Let’s
see how that works. It’s a little bit. It’s not dark enough. Let me cool it off here a
little bit and get a little…let’s get a little bit…
There we go. That’s more like it.
Okay. And then there’s a little bit more of a little awning over the top of this window.
I’m going to go ahead and put a little bit more in there. Now, it looks really dark there,
but it’s, again this is where my value grouping lies cause what I want to do is I want to
make sure that I keep my shadow shapes in here together, and the value is going to do
that. So I’m going to take a little of this. Now, there are houses back in here, but I’ll
put those in in a moment. What I’m going to do is get these big simple spots first.
I’m going to get my little retaining wall. It’s a little bit warmer.
Some of the things that are going to appear a little bit warmer also are things that are perpendicular to
the ground. Coolness of the sky is not hitting those as strongly. So these might appear a
little bit warmer. That was a little too warm. So let me back it off here like this.
It needs to be a little lighter than the sand as well.
There we go.
And we’ll realize this a little bit more once we put the cool top plane on this.
in there. Got a little too white on me there.
I’m also going to see that I’m getting
a little bit more cool along this over here. This is where the top of the pavement is.
And I’m going to get a little bit more blue in here as well. There really is a strong
effect of that light on this wall, so I’m going to get that. A little bit along here.
There we go.
Let me clear a little of this now.
This area that I’ve painted in, this foreground area,
is kind of my more neutral area of the painting. So that’s why I’m
moving a lot of the warm and cool temperature changes in the same little zone.
Before I put that in a polluted area, let me get it really clean. I don’t want to end up painting
the whole thing with the blue white. I want a clean white.
There we go.
Now it's harder to get a little bit more hue or darker colors once I put white down or a whiter paint.
These are going on a little bit thin. If I want to keep them thin, I can scrape some
of these things and keep this, you know in the shadows. I can keep some of these things
even thin if I want. If light is hitting something and I want to break it up a little bit, I
can soften an edge so it doesn’t pop out so much as a hard brush stroke just yet. But
it’s just keeping it kind of tame for right now, and I can lay a lot of bolder color over the top.
Now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and put in the hillside in light.
I need to make sure that I’ve got this arrangement of all this in shadow.
That helps my values in terms of
my setting the darks and also grouping the values in the shadow shape here.
Now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to go into this number three value or that
value and lay that in. So when I do that I need to start a little bit lighter. And I’m
going to paint this just a little bit thicker as well. I’m going to keep a little bit
of broken color in here and get this area in here. I need to get a little bit more red
in there…and the green cause it’s gonna be up in this range. It’s going to be some
of my hillside. Like I showed you with my initial lay-in, the 3rd step that I did I
looked at the texture. I already figured out this is going to be an area where I’m going
to have a little bit more texture so I know I might have more greens that sit up in this
area up here. I’m going to make sure they’re in the same value like that.
Then I'm going to see where it gets a little bit distant. Maybe it starts to get a little bit more neutralized
or a little bit more feeling like it’s a little bit violet in there. I’m going to
push that cause it gets a little bit more neutral in there, and this might sit back there.
A little bit more.
So you can see that I’m getting a little bit of variety in here now. Okay, a variety
of color, temperature, and so on in this one zone. And that’s really important that I
get it in this zone. Make sure this is really warm coming in here.
I see a good contrast in there.
That jump to my values, I didn’t want to go quite that dark in value.
in value. I can have a little value difference, but I didn’t want to go too far. I can get
a little bit more green in that kind of an area in there. If there is an area that is
getting a little bit more direct light it’s going to be warmer because remember the sun
is our most intense light. It’s going to get a little bit lighter, a little bit warmer,
warm that up just a little bit.
Right in here like this.
And over on this side.
So the other thing that I’m going to deal with in here is—I’m going to make a couple of these
edges soft. It might read a little bit better there. Then I’m going to have this reflected
in the water. So I want to make sure I’m kind of doing this at the same time. It’s
going to be slightly darker, but it’s going to be reflecting some of the same color. I
want to get the same color in there, maybe just a little bit darker. I’m going to put
it in a little bit thin. I’ll put the light over the top of it. Again, this is my mid-value
effect on here, and if I want to get, make it a little bit warmer in there in some areas
cause I see a little warmth in there. I’m going to get the same thing down here so it
feels like it’s reflecting. I might even get a little bit lighter and a little bit warmer yet.
That area. If I’m going get the reflection--if put a little bit more of the green up here,
I’m going to put a little bit more in there.
Now, up at the top in here I’m going to get a little bit of this really up in there.
And then as it goes around that side over there I want to make sure that it gets a little
cooler like I did before. Let’s get a little of that in there. Up here…just a little bit.
Then what I’m going to do is I’m going to see this shadow side of the hill
getting reflected into the water slightly, so I’m going to go ahead and put that in
too. I’m going to go back to some of my violets in here.
That’s a little bit—it needs a little bit more of this.
And I’ll get a little of that down in the water in there too.
Now, to go to the second value in my matrix which was the white or the sky in this case.
I’ll get a little bigger brush here. What I’ll do is I’ll clean some of this off
so I have a clean area to mix.
And I’m way up here in this range of values.
If I want to have a little bit of breakup, I can let a little bit of that color temperature
break through. I might feel like a little, a little atmosphere, a little clouds like
clouds or something that’s picking up the reflection of the sun.
I might get a little bit more violet towards the top, little blue-violet up here.
So I’m going to get a little bit of a range up in here.
Keep it pretty bright in value.
I know I’m going to need to get a little bit more phalo blue in here in some of this region.
I want to see what my color is going to do against one another before I start dealing
with all kinds of edges and that kind of stuff. I want to see how my color is reacting first.
Okay, I manipulate my colors. This gets a little bit more violet up here then it’s
going to get a little bit more like this as we get over towards the light side and also
lower in the sky. It’s going to have a little bit more warmth kind of like this, and that’s
what I’m going to see down in here just a little bit in here.
And again, I'm painting from the standpoint that what I want out of this is to really capture that effect of light
falling on this hillside. So that’s my main intent, and I’m staying with that. Do I
rely on rendering? No. I’m not going to rely on rendering. It’s setting my values
appropriately and grouping my values. That’s how I get it. So knowing that I’m going
to make sure that my zones are right, and I’m going to make sure that I’ve got those
relationships right, and then what I’m going to do is I’m going to make sure that I have
the textures of any kind of breakup is going to be different in these different zones.
Now I can paint the negative side around these palm trees.
getting too much texture in the sky because there wasn’t any in there than I can easily pull it back.
By reducing some of the texture in the sky it brings my focus down in the
areas that were a little bit more textured. I may keep a little bit around those palm
trees just slightly and get rid of some of that.
Now, there is another phenomenon that does occur that I know and I’m going to be aware of here,
and that is when you have light surrounded dark like in between these you have to mix your lights down a little
bit. Reason being is they’ll appear too light if you cut a whole with the same value
that you’re painting on the outside here. I’ll show you just how different this value is.
It’s not a whole lot but it’s enough. Where you have areas that are surrounding
some of these darks or within these dark zones, then you kind of need to make sure that you’re
using a little bit darker color in here.
It’s like that maybe along the edge here and some right in here.
Again, this is kind of a natural phenomenon that’s going to occur, and so I’ll just
use that as my basis to make a couple of little adjustments there.
It might see into here, and also I’ll come back and break this up just a little bit more when I come back and
put some more of the dark over the top.
Okay, let me go back now and I’m going to kind of take on a little bit more of this
hillside in light back here. I want to get this a little greener here, and I want this
to go into the sky and then back again. I don’t want to sit right on the edge and
be tangent to that mountainside.
And that being some of the darker values in here.
Let me get back to my dark value.
Texture was starting to equal that in the sky as it did in the ground, and I didn’t
want that to happen. So along this backside over here of that mountainside
I'm going to cool it a little bit.
Okay, and now I need to bring some of the sky into the
region in the water where it’s getting reflected.
I’m going to get some sky reflection in there in the water.
I need to make it lighter.
There we go.
Okay, now I have some boats and buildings and stuff in shadow there, and I have a little
bit to finish over here too. So just to finish my matrix and block that in. I know this over
here is going to be in the dark area of my matrix, and it was back into this kind of a...
a dark warm, violet, kind of a color.
Go back to that.
It's getting some of the reflection from the sky. So I’m going to go ahead and lighten it up just a
little bit in here. It still needs to sit against the sky. It’s darker than the sand,
but it still needs to feel like it’s a tile kind of a thing.
It needs to feel like it's got some warmth in it too.
Right along the edge here.
And then it cools down when it's more towards the open.
So land back here...The back of the planter, I’m going to see...
It stays dark but it’s less red. It’s more like this in here.
And we’ll make that a little thicker in here too.
Now, getting into some of the buildings in shadow, I’ll go back into some of those now.
I want to make sure that I’m mixing a value that’s going to sit well
in my dark region, so I am going to match that into my dark zone in there. And I’m
going to see from my reference. It could be a little cooled off.
Cool that down.
I want to get a little bit of a harder edge on that.
There we go.
And I’m going to have—let me back into that hillside just a little bit.
That’s a little darker note.
I had a little bit warmer in some of those areas too. So I’ll just get that working correctly.
Okay, I’m going to readjust my shape just a little bit here. I’ve got the shape of
the mountain in light over here that I want to get a little bit more, make a little bit
more of coming down in here.
Let me darken that down just a little bit.
There we go.
And we'll get that greener.
So you can see what happens. Once I start off with this value or this tonal plan of setting up my black and
white initially, and then looking at my value groups and my arrangement,
then I'm just going to kind of look at these spots.
I'm going to make sure that I get the effect of light through the relationships of the mountain
in light, mountain in shadow, tree in light, tree in shadow, and so on. I’m going to
get the boats in shadow. Need to put a little bit more paint out.
Okay, some of these boats in shadow,
again, they’re in the property of shadow so they have to be down. Even though
they’re white they’re going to be down in this darker value level down here somewhere
like this. Might be able to get a little bit more saturated, but it still has to be dark.
The saturation is going to make the appearance of it to be brighter. Do you see that?
It'll give the appearance of being brighter, but it’s not. It still sits within that dark region.
Okay. A little dinghy in there. Another little boat up to the dock up in here.
Now, to make the difference there I might just take and make the water just a little bit lighter.
Just to get a little bit more difference in there.
Okay, let me make it a little bit, a little bit more color into it. There we go. Alright.
Now, I did have more activity up here in the light, and in order to increase that actually
a little bit or enhance that just slightly what I can do is I can put in some of the
smaller elements up there or smaller marks which are actually homes and buildings and
stuff like that. But you know, to me they’re just marks on this panel.
Let me get a little bit of the eucalyptus trees back there.
These were the trees that were skirting this area up here, breaking up that part of the mountain.
Underneath there was a little bit more of a shadow up there.
And then our building up there in light, the warm light, get a real
warm light color up there. It’s almost a white but it’s got a little bit of warmth
in it. Let me get this building right on the top right up here. Make it lighter yet.
it down just a little bit.
Then the shadow on the hillside, the hillside itself is going to go much darker there.
Now, I overpainted that. Meaning I painted outside the actual
area because I’m going to come back with a light warm tone and regain that shape again.
Alright, and there’s kind of a softening along the edge here too. It’s kind of a
warm softening. So I’m going to kind of go into a middle range here just to get just
a little bit of a transition along the edge here.
It feels like there’s a little bitof a soft fall-off.
Get a little bit more room to paint here and to mix. I want to mix a couple more of the
little buildings in light just so that we can get this area up in the mountain up there.
That's the area that's going to have the most texture.
That's what I planned out in the beginning, and that's what I'm going to stick with.
That's instead of rendering all the little windows and everything, the buildings.
It’s the amount of texture within this zone compared to the other zones.
That's going to give me that depth or the illusion of detail without putting detail in.
It’s the relative texture.
I'm still getting a little breakup in the sky. And if I want just to make the texture here look a little
bit more obvious I can simplify the sky a little bit. We just do that.
Okay, and just by making the sky simple with a little less texture it’s going to enhance the contrast.
That’s what I’m looking at. I’m looking at ways to kind of build contrast out of here.
Some of the eucalyptus trees in here.
Okay, now I’m going to go back and I’m going to paint—one of the buildings on the
hill is a little bit pinker than the other one. So that one I’m going to put up here,
and I’m going to make it a little bit pinker. Can make it whiter than that too.
There is also a retaining wall up there that is warm. Now I just cooled this down just a little
bit because it’s not as warm as the buildings, and I might knock it down in value just a little bit.
This is still warm. It’s a little darker, and it’s still warm. This road might
go like that...and go into the shadow.
Remember what I when I was saying in the beginning
you want to get at least seven spots? The hill in light, hill in shadow; the water in
light, water in shadow. In this case we have buildings in light, building in shadow; or
palm trees in light. I may put a little light up here so we get palm tree in shadow and
palm tree in light. Again, when you have those sets, multiple sets, you get a greater impression
of the effect of light, and since that’s my subject here that’s what I’m going to be doing.
I’m going to be doing this retaining wall. I did the retaining wall in light. Now, I’m going to do it in shadow.
Make sure that it’s in this darker range.
So if I said the road in light, and this is road in—oops, too light.
This is the road in shadow.
Maybe make it a little bit bluer. I think I need a little bit more saturation in there.
Careful with that.
And I don’t want to make this too, I don’t want to make
this light. It’s hard to be putting light on a light,
I want to make sure I've got—still too light.
Again, let me go back to hillside value. And I need to bring that
down in value to make sure that it reads like the same road but just in shadow.
Again, to sell that idea that it’s really about the effect of light in getting the hillside in
light, the hillside in shadow; the road in light, the road in shadow; I’m going to
get a little bit more of the hillside in shadow around that just so that I can really make
it a little bit more clear that that’s—get a little bit more shadow up in there.
The same thing—oops, a little too light.
Okay, now I’m seeing that the value difference between the hillside in shadow and the road
in shadow, the contrast there is a little greater than it is in my hillside in light
to my road in light. I’m going to lighten the road just a little bit just so they can
match those. It’s road in light to road in shadow. If there’s a difference right
in there between the contrast between the hillside in light and hillside and shadow
and the road in light and the road in shadow, if there’s a difference of contrast that’s
too great what’ll happen is you’ll the effect of light. Watch what happens when I
add a little bit more light to that road just to lighten it up a little bit.
Going to lighten and warm it up just a little bit.
Get a little warmer because it was too yellow there, too greenish.
There we go.
Okay, now it has more of the effect of the road in light to the hillside in light, the road
in shadow to the hillside in shadow. If that relationship is more accurate, kind of a one
to one, then it’s a little bit more believable, and I can get, I can go a little farther down
the road with that. It might get a little bit of warmth over the roof up here.
Painting in that kind of a distance, it’s not going to be as red because it’s going to diminish
a little bit in the distance, but here we go. There are a couple little buildings down
in here. Again, and what I’m doing with these buildings is I’m trying to again,
try to establish the effect of what does a building look like in light, and what would
it look like in shadow. So here I’ve got another one in light.
Need to get another little one.
I’ll just make this a little variation and get a little bit redder in there.
So we have a little bit of a pink for this other building, so we have another variation in here.
Different shape, different color. Okay, so I’ve got a couple of those.
Now, I’m going to start looking at a couple of the buildings in shadow here. Again, these
are significantly lighter than the ground that they appear next to. So the buildings
in shadow down here, again, have to be lighter. Let’s just put that building there that’s
got to be darker than the background, lighter than the foreground.
If I want to get the effect of that going a little bit lighter what I’m going to need to do is I’m going
to need to get a little bit more contrast, a little more brightness in the background right in there.
So again, I’m kind of pushing and pulling these values a little bit. You
can see how that still silhouettes. I don’t have to go dark, dark, dark on that building.
A couple down a little lower...
right in here.
There’s another one that has kind of a greener
tone to it, so I’ll mix a little bit of this in here. That’s right down in this
area here, so it’s got more like a green roof on it, a little blue-green.
That's too light.
There we go. Something about like that.
quality of light hitting this hillside now.
Again, that was my initial intent. That's where I was going with this
and so I’m trying to stay with that intent.
Right here starts to get a little bit mushy on me.
I'm seeing that there's some kinda of a neutral on the hillside
coming in here just a little bit.
Maybe I could take advantage of that.
Getting it a little bit lighter up in this zone.
Breaking up that hill side right there...
and a little back there.
I didn't finish this up here, but it's feeling like it's a little
lighter and warmer up there.
I kinda like how that relates. I have the tree in shadow,
and I can get the tree in light a little bit up there
if I want, and I think I want to do that, because it's gonna give more
the effect that I want to get.
That’s a little bit too warm. Let me neutralize that a little bit.
It needs to stay light.
We’re saying it’s a warm light.
There we go.
And if I get a little bit up there, a little bit
of my warmth up there, I might just say I’m going to get some of this
warmth hitting some of these, the palm trees up here too,
which might really kind of spike out of the real bright light.
That might be a little too much.
Let me down into here just a little.
Now, I’m going to go back and I can make some these areas up in here just a little bit darker.
Because I want to, again, that was gonna be my darkest area, and I can creep down
with some my values overall, so
what I can do is I can then come back here and I can make this
stand out just a little bit.
I can bring the branch out here a little bit.
So again, like I said, we're just gonna wax on, wax off, and I can
put some of the effect of this in here now.
Kind of break up my other palm up here.
I can take something looks kinda like a blob,
and I just shift into it a little bit.
Change it a little bit on it so it doesn’t look like it’s just cut out.
I want to make sure that doesn't get confused with the back hillside.
So what I’ll do is I’ll get a little bit more of this warmth back here,
and I’ll just kind of chop that off just a little.
Back up up there.
There we go.
Again, I’m going to go back into my greens because I want to
get a little bit more branches coming through here, darker yet.
Alright, so I’ve pretty much blocked this in
according to where my, you know, what I wanted to do throughout this.
I am going to do a couple more little things here just to kind of finish off this little lay-in.
And that's getting couple these little dark accents under here that I see.
And I can see that I got a little bit too light up there.
I’m going to get a little bit darker just at the base of this.
This little outbuilding here.
There we go.
And then if this building is out here,
the other building is in shadow back there,
I want to get a little bit of a cooler one.
Slightly lighter and cool back there.
Just because I've established some these bluer buildings back there
in this certain value range, I want to make sure that I can get a
get a full range that in here.
Let me get a little bit of a cooler light on some of this.
I just want to make that read just a little bit clearer
so we get a little bit more spatial relationship next to those palm trees there.
And with setting everything up, light against dark and dark against light like this,
I can go in and get the poles that hold up
the rope at the little seawall there.
I need to get them with a little bit of accent into there.
I’m going need to need a little bit of a dark.
It’s kind of a tricky little situation in here because
it has to be darker than the water, but it's still a light…
Something like that.
Get a little more warmth at the bottom of it.
It kind of blends in there. Get a couple more of those.
Now, I got this one tilting over a little bit. See if we can straighten it up a little.
That’s a little bit better.
Then in the sand here…
I want to get the edge of the seawall here.
And then soften that out.
That’s kind of putting an edge to it where we’re not getting any light there.
We’re getting a little occlusion. That’s what happens in there.
There’s how I would set up capturing the effect of light
if that is my motive for going out there, and it hasn’t taken me,
you know, just an hour or so, hour-and-a-half to put this together,
so it’s really doable outside.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview58sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Things to know before getting started15m 15s
3. Finding your intentions for your piece and identifying color spots13m 44s
4. Grouping your values and light/shadow ranges16m 11s
5. Identifying contrasts, textures, and lay-in of matrix for demo15m 25s
6. Blocking in major forms and creating appropriate tones15m 41s
7. Laying in a middle-value and assigning textures13m 24s
8. Focusing on the effect of light16m 38s
9. Using texture to create detail and finding the right contrasts14m 57s
10. Finishing touches13m 55s