- Lesson Details
In this video series, instructor Bill Perkins breaks down the complex topic of Color Theory in a clear and easy to understand way. In this first lesson Bill Perkins is focused on values and he will introduce the importance of establishing a strong Matrix and the mood by adjusting your Major and Minor Keys. He will also demonstrate the importance and differences between designing via Chiaroscuro and Notan and show you how you can utilize these schemes in your drawings and paintings.
- Conté Crayon – Black
- General’s Charcoal Pencil – 2B
- CarbOthello Pencil – Black
- Newsprint Paper
- Grumbacher Artists’ Oil Colors – Black and White
- Hog Hair Bristle Brushes – Filberts
- Palette Knife
- Silicoil Brush Cleaning Tank
- Gamblin Gamsol Oderless Mineral Spirits
- Metal Paint Scraper
- Canvas Panel
the complex topic of color theory in a clear and easy to
understand way. In this first lesson, Bill Perkins is focused
on values and he will introduce the importance of establishing
a strong matrix and the mood by adjusting your major and minor
keys. He will also demonstrate the importance and differences
between designing via chiaroscuro and notan and
show you how you can utilize these schemes in your drawings
and paintings. Bill will show how famous artists like Vermeer,
Rembrandt used these techniques to give their work
color theory today. We're going to focus on value but in the
big picture color theory, there's quite a lot of things
involved. We're going to simplify it down to just three
primary components first, that of hue,
Out of these three components we can actually come up with or
define any particular color. But how that works is like this:
if we take our color wheel
our hue here is measured around the circumference of the color
Okay, it's measured all the way around, our primaries sit on this
color wheel, can even diagram that out if you'd like. Color
theory goes it's an equilateral triangle, but in actual mixing
we realize that is different but just for color theory sake
I'm just going to use this as an example and we'll see that
our hue, again, is around the circumference of the color
is measured along the radius of the color wheel. Okay, and it
goes from neutral grey to full chroma or full saturation out
here. So any color you might mix on here the chroma is being
being deluded as it goes to the center and it's increasing as
you come out to the circumference.
Value, as you'll see, is measured on a whole different
scale. It's not measured on this color wheel, value is
unique because it sits on a scale from white
I bring this up because it's a really important point right
from the beginning, value because it's measured on a
different scale than the other two, has a greater importance in
the success of your picture. Value is what I would call your
mood maker. That's the component of these three
components that actually cultivates and develops and
actually manifest the mood which you want to portray. The
mood is up to you. That's how you want to portray your
picture but how you set up your value and your value structure
can give you expression. It can give you -
it could make your painting happy, sad, it can make it
aggressive, all kinds of different emotional aspects can be pushed
through value and manipulating value. It also makes value a
very complicated element to work with. So when you're
starting out the value is one of the more difficult
components to work with. We always start with value but
managing that can become a problem. Okay, and as the time
goes on and you develop yourself as an artist, I find
most of the time value again is still an issue. So it
doesn't matter where we are in our learning, value is one thing
that we're always trying to push in order to manage a
little bit better. So I'm going to show you a different
techniques on how to manage your values to capture the mood
that you might want to get. It's all going to be different, each
of you are going to want to do things a little differently or
manage your values in a particular way even with your
own work or even individual pieces. Maybe you want to do
one piece that's dark and scary, another piece that you want and other piece that you want
light and uplifting. You're going to learn how to manage
and manipulate your values to deliver the mood that you want
Okay, here's how we first begin. First you have to determine
maybe what the key is or the value key of your image.
Whatever you want to create you have to establish your key.
Many of you might have learned value key or color key, might
even just heard the term, but I want to get a little more
specific and dive into this deeper because I find just
saying, oh it's a low-key or a high key painting isn't
descriptive. It's not definitive enough for you to be
very articulate about what you want to say in your piece. So
we're going to break down your value key into a major key and
a minor key. The major key -
The major key is about proportion. So
your image might be mostly light with a little dark.
It could be mostly dark
with a little light.
It could be ultimately balanced in some way.
It could be balanced in some way that it's half and half. Not
that you would bisect your image, but you could have any
range of proportion. Okay, that's your major key.
Major key is your proportion. Now your minor key.
Your minor key is the contrast range within your image. And if
you've looked at a computer or balanced the lighting on a
computer, you might see a little diagram that appears
This is basically a symbol for contrast in this would be the
Okay in another situation
this would identify a low contrast. Okay high contrast,
and a medium contrast.
Okay, so your minor key is your range of contrast.
A range of contrast. Now by playing these two angles with
your value, you can create any mood. You can't do it by just
saying oh my mood is a high key image. If you do that, you
might be referring to your major key and just the
proportion just the greater element or the greater amount
of a value in a picture. But to actually convey the mood and
get your idea across, you have to reference that along with
the minor key. We have overall light but we might have overall
light and high contrast. We might have overall light and
medium contrast and we might have overall light and low
contrast. We might have overall dark and a high medium or low
contrast. So there's a lot of variants and I'll show you some
how you could play these out.
In this diagram I put the major key
across the top and the minor key from top to bottom.
So on the left, you'll see the vertical column is all high key,
overall proportion being light. In the center column straight
down you're going to see it's a medium value overall. And on the
right-hand column, up and down, it's going to be overall dark,
major key. Okay, your minor key is the range of contrast and in the
top row, across the top, you're going to see the minor key
change and it's going to go from low to high. Okay. So your
your minor key or contrast range you're going to see
in the lowest row is going to be low contrast. The
medium row is going to be medium contrast and across the
top is your highest degree of contrast. Now through these
nine images you can see that the mood is changing in
these pieces specifically and this is how you start to manage
the values across your major and minor key to achieve the
mood that you want in your own work.
So we've talked about a major key and our minor key. Okay, the
next thing that I want to go through is how we distribute
those values through your image and that's going to be really
important as well. You need to look at your proportion like we
talked about before. We looked at proportion and we looked at the
contrast range. Now we want to look at your image clarity and
how you create an image that's clear, regardless of the value
set that you put in that. And that has to do with the break
down of your image, how you're designing your image. Okay,
it's going to come down to your simple matrix. And your matrix -
I'll write this out.
Your ,atrix or your design matrix is really pretty much
Any image that I'm going to work on it's going to have a
light area, predominantly light area, and a predominantly dark
area. Your matrix is basically if you increase the contrast
completely. So everything was just black and just white, your
matrix would be the design pattern that's created from
just black and just white.
It's eliminating all middle values.
So the interaction of how dark goes into light and light goes
into dark, that creates the pattern for your painting. That
creates the value pattern that's going to be dividing
your composition. It's extremely important to get a
pattern of design that where light moves into dark and dark
moves into light. If it starts to get a little bit too
if your dark shapes
are a bit randomized and start to get a little bit too
broken up like this, okay, you don't have a through line. You
don't have a rhythm. You don't find a pattern in your design.
Okay, if on the other hand your black and white design pattern
is extremely regular
it becomes monotonous. So these are the two extremes that we
have on our range when we're designing our matrix.
Something that is discordant
and something that's monotonous.
What lies in the middle of this spectrum or line is harmony.
Okay, and a harmony is a balance between the arrangement
of things. We're looking at like a
landscape let's say well maybe we have some ground in here and
maybe you have a bit of a
There's a break up - there's a shadow on the house from a tree
Maybe even there's a fence or something back here.
What this creates is a situation where the dark goes
in the light and the light goes into the and the light goes into the
dark up in here. So you need to have a dynamic matrix in order
to get an interesting composition. This is true
for figure drawing, figure painting, still life painting,
landscape painting, it all works the same.
You need to establish or get a good plan to begin with of
how your darks feed into your lights and your lights feed
into your darks. And once you set that plan, okay, you need
to stay clear where you are within this range, from being
monotonous or discordant. You want to find a harmony where
those pieces meet and pull together to make an image that
has some area of rest, some area of focus, a good design pattern
is the best foundation for a successful drawing or painting.
So this is how we'll begin
to break down our image and then we'll layer in the range
of contrast within this type of a matrix.
that we were talking about. I'll try to put them into an
image and break down my value groups starting with the matrix
and then looking at my value scheme in terms of a major
minor key and so on.
I'll start with -
start with a sketch. Always start with an idea. I'll start
with a sketch, I'll start with a sketch right over here.
A lot of times you might think of a sketch is just a loose
kind of a situation, a loose sketchy or scratchy kind of
half-baked idea. But to me a sketch is your plan. That's
your basic plan. That's your intent. So you don't want to be
vague there in a hold off making any decisions until you
do your final piece. You want to get your foundation
groundwork in the sketch. If that's all you do then just do
that. So I'm going to be doing an image here
of a painting that I have and so I'll just do just a
basic division of my overall shapes.
This is a scene from Venice, Italy.
The canals in Italy.
Rooftop here, side of a building, another one here, another one
back here, in here.
There's a tree.
So when I'm looking at this - and I'll even put a gondola in
here. I'll just put a gondola in here like that, that.
You get a reflection in the way, this reflection, even come down here
and have some of the tree. But what I'm going to look at here
is I'm going to break it into my light and dark pattern first,
that design matrix that I was talking about. So
I'll start with this back here.
And this is all in light back here, these side buildings
here, the sides of them, are in shadow.
So this side of the building is in shadow. I'll just lay in this
shadow side because this is going to be the, again, this is
the dark part of my matrix.
And I'm just breaking it into the area of light and shadow.
Now there's a shadow on the wall from this tree. The
tree is dark and the shadow is dark. So it's all going to go
into these local values a little bit darker, but it's
going to all merge into this area of shadow here. This is
all running into shadow here.
Which creates a dark shape.
Reflection down in here.
And then this is going to get a little broken up.
here of the gondola.
And you can see I'm looking - I'll even put a little guy in
So this is my basic
I'm going to put little eve underneath here. There's even a
window on the top up here that I'm gonna have a little shadow
on. So it's a little kind of a little bit up there.
Push this back just a little bit.
Darkness in a window here then I'm going to keep in this
Maybe have another little window up in here, too.
Just something of interest to put into this light area.
So I have dark feeding into light, light feeding into dark.
I have some this dark over the light and then up here as well.
And then I have the light feeding into the dark up there.
So I'm working these two pieces of this puzzle together.
So this is my first initial matrix, this is the first part of my -
how I create my design.
Once I establish the design of the lightest lights and the
darkest darks, now going to go in and look at it in terms of
my value grouping. So in the light areas, I might have three
value groups or two value groups, in the shadow I might have two
or three value groups and my next step is really to
designate where those are. So what I'll do is I'll take about
three values or
three groups in the shadow and about two groups in light. Okay,
and what I'll do is I'll start with my value, either my
light or my dark, and I'll work from those. Okay, in this case,
I'll start with the darks and I'll lay in my darkest dark of
of the image. That's kind of a normal way that I might start
I'm going to put in the darkest dark, which might be -
might be an area of the tree.
Now in the fence in here or in this little wall there was
some light stone work and some dark stone work
I'm getting in the reflection.
Or I might see that in there.
Even within this I might see a little bit of a shadow
in my darkest darks there. Might have some windows on the
Couple other windows down in here
on the side here.
And then a dark going into the light there.
So now I have two values within my dark pattern and now I might
look at my light pattern and look at a couple different
value groupings that I might have there. Now the trick is I
don't want to make any of the values in my light as light - as
dark as anything in my shadow. So as to be a good step above
these values here, okay.
So solidify these just a little bit.
Okay. Now the area in light or one of the lighter areas in the one of the lighter areas in
light I'm just going to use a soft tone in here. To get that
I want to make sure this
is nowhere near as dark as anything in my shadow.
And back here there might be a couple windows.
Just erase that back.
Okay, as you can see I hung onto my overall matrix, the
darkest area and the lightest area, I've kept them separate.
Now I have four values in these in this area and I'm
still keeping clear distinction between my matrix with my
light and dark areas. Okay.
From this point this is my plan. This is where
I would begin
and then from here if I'm going to expand that range of value
just a little bit, I might look at it and say this building is
going to be a little darker than the actual sky.
Make this just a little bit -
a little bit darker to read as a darker roof on there and
I'm still - it's still holding up pretty good.
If I make something a little bit dark in here, I just did
that on purpose to make that a little dark. I can keep
that contrast going
or keep the difference in the contrast going by darkening
this area and maintaining the strength of that
difference between the area that was in light and in shadow
that I'm holding off.
Okay, and maybe even if there's a white trim
around the window. I can get a little bit of a difference on
And then I might even just pick out a couple of the highest
highlights that might -
I might pick up from something in here.
So at this point, I'm also looking at the overall design
agency within this, this feels a little bit hard and I want to
get a little bit of
dark into this light area. This will soften that area up.
So I'm going to bring a couple water
ripples into this area.
These will be part of my dark value group in there.
So just to soften this area up. So that creates
interest in here moving around as not such a hard line in
there. I kind of -I move that in there. Now this is my
design pattern. This is what I would hang on to. If this is a
white trim around here, I might have just subtle
from the white trim around the window or something there if
there was a -
any kind of a frame around this I might have just a slight bit
of a shadow, but these little bits in here
are the little accents in your overall piece, so they're not
allowed to dwell on - I'm not dealing with a lot of a lot of
the little minutiae in the situation. I want to get my
basic matrix down, set it apart from the area in light area
in shadow or the area of light and the area of dark.
will be based on more of my local values and I'll also
include some chiaroscuro into it. Okay, so
I'll do another landscape.
Okay, this will be a
kind of a garden building.
Get some palm trees.
I have some other distant trees.
And all these kind of fit together as one big group.
It's an area that's going to fit together as a part of the
And there's some light and shadow falling across here,
across onto the grass.
Let this fall into one big shadowed group.
So this is where these bushes are a dark local value, okay in
light and shadow, but the the grass down here we're seeing a
stronger shadow on it.
And I'm designing this shape of this shadow
moving up into this, getting a little bit of a shadowing
into this area over here. So this is a dark mass of local
value. But I also have this shadow shape. So I'm combining
my matrix of notan and chiaroscuro. That's how this secure. Oh, that's how this
design is starting to work. starting to work.
Now I'm going to go ahead and make this a little bit darker
because my building is light.
I do a real light building. I want to make sure that this is
down dark enough that I'm going to hang on to that matrix
even when I jump into a lighter value grouping.
On this building there's a large entrance here,
but there's also the
overhang up here or a balcony.
Comes this way. The entrance is inside this area. It's a dark
entrance in there. There's another section of a
window back through there.
Then the roof comes up there. Now from here
I've got just light and dark. I'm going to put a second value
in here that's going to be this building, a white building in
Okay. Now I see that the value of the white building in shadow
is real close to the value of the grass
in the light.
So my initial matrix, if I'm just using these three values,
I'm going to just put this
value in here.
Little bit of trim there.
Window above here
and that window,
And I can put the
dark eve of the roof.
The roof itself is light.
So again, I have basically three values, that which is the
real dark here, and then the medium value I have in this
So all these locked together.
Okay. And again, it's that interlocking of those design
Now you can see I'm not spending a lot of time doing
these but what I am doing is I'm using my sketches to answer
important questions. Not just say, oh here's a building and
do a couple lines and say building and then a scribble
for trees. Yeah. That's just identifying yeah, that's a
house. Yeah, that's a tree. But really what I want to do is
say, okay, what's their relationship? And that's the
main thing that I want to do my sketches. And in your
sketches you want to accomplish capturing the identity of the
two parts and not necessarily just suggest that's a house,
that's a tree, that's a lawn. If you do that what happens to
you stop looking? Okay, you start painting that
tree or that lawn it's in your head from your imagination and
you just stop paying attention to the actual relationships of
those values and colors and how they work together. Okay, and
it's just our association with our assessment. We have to look
at everything like it's brand-new, like it's the first
time you saw it. So pull back to those abstract shapes
and that's what you want to get across in your initial sketch.
Again, you start with your design matrix and determine
what's the lighter region of this image and what's the
darker region of the image? And then you're going to look at
your major and minor key. Your major minor key in all of the
aspects of our picture making that's our method of measure.
We measure things one against the other by contrast, by
similarity, but we always contrast them but through a
major and minor key. The proportion of one thing to
another, what value or what color is the greater proportion,
and then we break it down to, okay between those different
proportions what's the contrast range between those
proportions? Once we establish that, like I've done here, now
you could go in and say, okay what is the contrast range
within each area? For instance, if I say, what's the contrast
range now within those bushes to trees I might say, you
know what there is a little lighter area of the tree.
There's a darker side to tree just slightly, so I'm barely going to
register that. But what I'm going to see is maybe these
planes that don't turn towards the sky. Maybe they do get a
little bit darker in here.
But since I've already established my groupings
it's easy for me to go back and place in values that all stay
within those groups.
Maybe there's a couple little darks up in those trees. Now as
I come forward into this this region in here. Maybe there's
some areas that are a little darker down here
I'm going to see and maybe at the base of
I'm going to see a little bit of this in here.
I might not see it as much in the light.
so if I don't put that in there I have this starting here and
then I have a continuing over here. That gives us closure, our
eyes will move across that shape if we have somebody to
initiate it and then something continues later. We will create
a type of closure for that. Okay?
Now as things get closer to the - as the shadow gets closer
to the bushes, the bushes are going to block out some of the
diffused light from the sky and on the other hand as the
shadow shape goes closer to the trees out here that are casting
a shadow onto the grass they're actually going to get a
little darker out here because they're going to get the - the
skylight is going to be excluded from all the diffused
light out here. So even if it was a little bit of - darken
just a little bit out here - it's going to get a little bit
lighter in the middle here and maybe a little softer.
But then right in by these it might feel a little darker.
Something like that.
Now you feel there's a lot more space in there, but I haven't
deviated from those simple value groups. And those
are the groups that I'm hanging on to and that was my basic
design. So I set everything up here. Now when I'm dealing with
my painting what I might do is I'm going to look at the subtle
value relationships, I'm going to look at the edges, I'm going
to modify all of those things, but I'm going to keep them
within these simple value groups. I might change
how I put marks down. Maybe there's a tile roof and I'm
going to have small marks up here. Maybe I'm going to have simple
large flat washes here. Maybe I'm going to have a little bit
more break up in here. Even if these are these are rose bushes
I may even put some some breakup in here, but I'm
going to look for to see how my lights -
I can keep it a nice design of a light pattern falling in my
shadows. Okay, but I'll be looking at all those things in
relation to that simple matrix that I first initiate and
that's what your initial sketch should appear like. You
should have answered those questions or those
relationships in your first initial sketch. So starting out
with tone, these are the things that you have to look for.
Your design pattern initially. Okay, that will move your eye
and you move the viewer's eye through your picture through
that matrix. Then we're going to look at the major and minor
key. What's the greater proportion? What's the smaller
proportion? Then we're going to look at the contrast range
between the large and the small proportion. Then we're going to
look at the value range or contrast within the large range -
the large portion - and within the small portion to get a
little secondary step or subtle values and they won't cross
over and you won't make your matrix mushy that way. So you
stay within your
major and minor key.
When you're initially doing your design you're going to be
looking at is this darkening, is that the result of
a shadow shape is it form or chiaroscuro or is it the result
of a local value? And how did those merge and interlock?
Okay, and how do they help to create your Matrix. So you're
going to want to pay attention to the equality of light. So
you want to see
is they strongly lit area? Is it a strongly contrasting local
colors or local values and how those things merge or are they
similar or is it a soft light or diffused light? That's what
you want to
be recognizing while you're doing your initial sketch
sketch and putting all that together.
about what you're going to say before you begin your drawing.
If you don't, often times, I know in classes, I'll spend
some time to set up the model, the lighting, and people will
come in and I notice they come in, they find a seat, and they
just start painting and they don't move around the room,
they don't check out different possibilities, they don't look
for the view or the angle that appeals to them or that they
would want to make a statement about. It's a
tendency to just sit down and start painting. And the
difficult thing there and same thing landscape painting I
found going out and doing a lot of paintings, I would see
something that would interest me and I would stop and I'd
say, oh I got to paint that. Well I whip out my paints and
I'd start painting right away, but I really didn't make it
clear in my own mind what it was that I wanted out of that
image or it wasn't clear - it didn't matter to me at the
time what I wanted to say. I was just going to capture a
snapshot of that daylight, that time of day, that type of color
palette, that scheme that made that image that image, but I
really didn't give it much thought about what I wanted to
say about that image that I'm looking at. Well, I found that
by just doing that what ends up happening is if you for
me just going in - and it might be for you too - just going in and
sitting down and starting to draw or paint right away, even
if you look at and say I like it. Oh, I like how that
building, the light hits that building or something, you
might look at it that way and then just start jumping in and
painting. Well the downfall of that is if you don't have a
real clear idea of your visual statement of what you want to
say out of that you might end up beginning that piece losing
track of what it was that interested you in some way and
so you end up in this revolving kind of a situation where
you're using rendering to save your drawing or the only way to
finish that piece is by rendering,. It's not having a
clear statement, it's about rendering every square inch and
that's not necessarily the best way to communicate an idea.
Though e might look at the craftsmanship of something
that's well rendered or well-crafted and say that's a
well crafted piece, it's not always that piece that's going
to be the most inspiring or the most that resonates with you
personally. So when you approach a subject, when you're
going to draw or paint something, look at it and
determine what it is that you like about it and then be as
specific as possible about breaking it down into its
components. Okay, you might not get really deep into it, but
you have to have a clear idea, a clear pathway into that Idea a clear pathway into that
painting or drawing, something that tells you that this is
what I want to say to the viewer. So it puts me in the
position of the artist director who is going to direct the
viewer's eye on how they're going to move through that
piece of work or you're going to direct them on what you want
to convey in that work. So I pulled a couple images and I'm
going to do some drawings from those images, but I'll kind of
lay them out along those lines so that you can see how I might
go about setting down the parameters to build the context
around an image. That way I know that I understand what it
means to finish a piece. If I don't set that information up
ahead of time I'm going to have to rely on rendering
everything until I get to the point where I can't render
anymore because they don't have a clear idea what constitutes
finish and that's a big thing. I might have an idea, I might
find a statement of what I want to say about that idea or that
composition. The next thing that I want to do is, you know,
understand where I want it to land now. It doesn't mean it's
always going to be executed there the same way or I don't
have to figure out every brushstroke, where that's going
to be. But what I do need to do is find a clear design pattern,
I need to stick with that design pattern and build on
that by building in all of my pieces and determining what is
the important approach to this and what's important to
the image and what do I leave out? How do I edit?
Editing is just as important as putting in. So I'm going to
start with a couple of these images and I'll draw through
these and I'll talk them through as I go.
This first image is going to be one of a seascape or a seashore
on the California coast, North on the California coast, and
it's a vertical piece.
And I'm going to do this drawing and it appealed to me
because there's three bits of land that stick out into the
ocean: foreground, mid-ground, background. It has a clear
foreground, mid-ground, background, and the tonal
contrast between these three different areas is distinctly
different, broken up a little bit differently, and they
progress in a way that I get this texture gradient or this
quality of aerial perspective. So I'm going to look at the
shapes. I'm going to look at what happens in space with
those shapes. I'm going to look at my value contrast which changes
in space. So first of all, my initial design I have
a branch that's going to frame the top of my canvas.
I have some vertical trees that sit within this
area and I'm going to make sure that they're not all
equidistant. Okay, that would be monotonous. So I'm building
a rhythm already between these.
Okay, so I'm moving your eye up around this way. I want to give
I want something to stop your eye.
So I'm going to give you some small contrasting marks in
there that will bring your eye up.
Some of these will connect.
Then I'm going to come around here. I'm going to see that
this, there's a large shape down here.
That's some bushes and some other bushes coming up in here.
oceanfront, the water line, then there's this other
cliff that comes in here
and some more trees that block from here.
Okay, then from here. I'm going to see there's my mid-ground
coming out into here.
And I've set this a bit of a vertical so I know there's some
steep cliffs in here. This is a bush that's going to be
in here kind of blocking this
and then this
comes up this way.
These trees are smaller.
It might come in here.
Okay, and then in the very distant back here.
So what's going on in this image, I might have some -
let's see might have some some shadow coming out from these
trees onto the
here and I have a few people down at the beach.
A few umbrellas.
A few people sitting, a few people standing.
Okay. So what I'm doing with this composition, I'm making
all these little marks and I'm putting these things in, I'm
going to go back and I'm going to show you a large simple
shapes in the foreground here that give me a real strong
direction. This is pushing my eye up. This is bringing my eye around.
This is stopping the eye going over here. I have what looks
like a tangent in here. Okay, but when I put my values in - and
see I'm going to bring this right into the ground here and
he's that out. I've got this mid-ground, which is a smaller
scale of these marks. I want to make sure that my marks here
and the branches and any of the tree shapes that I have in here
are much smaller and more delicate on this. Now in this
area back here, I'm going to see a little bit of a light and
shadow pattern, but the contrast is going to be far
less than the contrast here and then in my distance I've got
just very small marks in there. Okay, and I've got
very little contrast within that zone. So in here, I have a
lot of contrast, less contrast and, less contrast. So that's
going to create my aerial perspective. Okay. So and as
far as the shapes any division of the shapes, you can see I'm
working here. This is about it's about a third in this
area. I don't adhere necessarily to any rules of
thirds or anything. But
any time you have three you can create some kind of a
dynamic relationship. So from that standpoint three parts can
but they don't necessarily have to be actual thirds. It's not a -
it's not a specific - that's an adaptation of a what could be
rule if people want to call it that but I really don't look at
it as any kind of a rule. If you adhere to that as a rule all
your compositions would look the same and that would be
pretty ridiculous. So by getting a diagonal in here, I'm
bringing your eye around and making a little bit more
dynamic into here. Okay, and I can bring another branch up in
Make sure that my arched branch reads clearly, so I'm going to
make sure that -
see that in there.
Might have a little bit of a break in this, give a subtle
variation in there.
Like I said the contrast in here, I'm going to have more
maximum contrast within this region between my light
and shadow in this foreground area because then it's going to
diminish as I go back adding to that quality of spatial depth.
So the space is going to be created by the scale of the
and the tonal contrast.
This is a lighter area on the
branches and then the underside of that.
In the foreground
is another little light area here.
There's a big dark area in here.
This is all in a shadow in here.
This is a lighter area. It's in light so this contrast
So I've set the contrast with in this front plane.
little bluff in shadow
comes down here,
connects with this.
The shadow's on the ground.
Now these shadows on the ground I'm making a little
The reason for that -
the reason that these are lighter than this vertical
right here is because this plane, this ground plane, this flat
area is perpendicular to the sky. Outside during the day the
sun at direct sunlight is the most intense light, but the sky
is the biggest light out there. It's the biggest surface that's
reflecting its light into planes that are most parallel
to it. So anything that is say perpendicular to the sky, okay,
or parallel to the sky up here like this, that is going get the
greatest amount of illumination from the sky itself. That's why
these shadows look cool and that's why they're lighter than
anything that's standing up this way because these are
getting illuminated by the sky or sky dome up here. Okay the
trees in here well-protected. So they're all dark and therein
and clustered in their mass
is broken up because their needles and some leaves and so
on. So my next step in here is looking at this middle ground,
this mid ground. And I'm going to start with a mid
ground by putting in one value.
I'll put in the second value, but I'm only going to put in
after I put in the first value.
Reason being is I want this value to read really clear that
it's not part of the foreground.
And for any reason if this gets
close to the foreground I need to change it.
Either it or the
So what I'll do is I'll push the contrast here just a little
Just to ensure
that I'm keeping that difference.
Now what I'm going to do is I'll go in and I'll put a
shadow side on the underside of this
second layer of depth back here.
Light filtering through this a little bit so we get some
shadowing down here.
Go in here and lighten and just pull the lights out of this
just a little bit so I can start to read those shadows a
But I have to make sure that this value and the sky value
don't get close.
Because it'll look like a hole in the ground if it does.
Okay, so these shapes on here I have to make sure that
And the value range between light and shadow here needs to
be different than this foreground here. So as long as
I have a lot of good contrast up in here
they're going to separate.
Now I'm going to go back and put this distant hill back in
And there's very little contrast in that one. Okay.
It's about the same amount of contrast that I get from a
And some of the people here that are standing in light
might have a little bit of a shadow.
Like something like this and now this zone, this area in here
has light and shadow and it has these small vertical shapes. So
the design pattern in here is a little different than the
design pattern in here, which is different than the
background, mid-ground, and then the foreground. So this is the
most contrasting with the largest shapes and largest
differentiation of shapes in here. And then the mid-ground
in here is
less contrast and smaller shapes, less contrast and
smaller shapes here, and then down here at the water's line
it's broken up just a little bit different. So these zones,
the textures within those zones are also different and that
will also help create a difference in your composition.
Your composition is going to be working on a 2D level and a 3D
level. So the patterns in one area need to be different than
the patterns and shapes in another area. Not only the
patterns but the scale, the type of marks or shapes, and
if it's the same kind of hillside and the same kind of
tree it's going to diminish in scale and also tonal contrast.
The rate in which it changes tells us how deep they
atmosphere is, it tells us how dense the -
is it a foggy day? Is it a clear day? Or just what is it?
I'm going to bring a little bit of this
dark down into here just to just to clear this up because
my scratchy drawing in there
kind of breaks it up a little bit. I'm gonna make this feel a
little bit more solid.
I can see how this is going to be moving my eye across here.
And that's really what I'm working on now. I'm not
rendering as much about this leaf and that leaf. Okay, so
I'm not as interested in rendering every little aspect
of this. I'm interested in moving your eye around the
composition. So I'm going to be moving some of these shapes
with a point of view. Now if I didn't have this idea up front
before I started I would be more focused on rendering the
detail of every single leaf here and here and what color
bathing suits they're wearing down here. I'd be concerned
with that. At this point as I'm designing this composition, I'm
more concerned with how this pattern works against this
pattern and this pattern down there. And then I'm looking at it in
terms of its scale and depth. Is it reading clearly because
of the size and scale of things here relative to those here and
then back there? This might be a little dark overall
so I'm going to lighten that just a little bit
to simplify that.
And you can see it will set itself apart a little more
going to take a look at the way that he broke his
We'll look at the chiaroscuro secure that he laid out and also how
he divided his canvas. So it's pretty intricate.
There's a beautiful combination and he set up some really nice
rhythms using the direction of her figure, the shapes of her
clothing, and then her eye line. Really strong eye line to
counter the direction of her body and then also play her body and then also play
back into the decomposition. So I'll do that
On my palette you can see I just kind of laid out the - my
tools here. I just have some titanium white and ivory black.
It's going to be a black-and-white, start with a
matrix and look at that design. So
just white paint, black oil paint, and then I use just a
mineral spirit, just light paint thinner,
and pretty simple tools. Paint scraper. And then just some
simple hog hair brushes, filberts, and a palette knife.
that's how I basically set up the - set up my palette.
So I have some paint thinner in there. Okay.
So initially, I'm going to look at the basic alignments. This is
going to be a vertical so I'll try to get the
right proportion similar to the Vermeer's
But then what I'm going to do is I'm going to look at
the real dominant directional components that are simplified
in there and I can see the
front of her garment for figure.
the attitude of her face. These are pretty strong
shapes in here. The top of her
head or her hat.
Okay, and then
down the back and there's a couple of folds in here that
gives us direction along this way too. So we want to make
sure that we pay attention to that.
And then there's a diagonal line
that runs like this.
Okay, and then
this comes up to complete this over here.
So this straight also has a nice arch here. That's really
kind of a geometric kind of a
curve here, real kind of a simple geometric curve, and then
coming up here there's a -
if we get a little bit more particular about the shape in
here, we see a little bit like this and then the front of
her neck in here. Okay, so bring this in just a little bit
because this is real important.
Just the fact that dividing up the canvas like he did, it's
real interesting that he has the front of her face over here
so far over
because what it does is it sets the focus way over here,
but the interesting thing is that within this image he has
her body facing this direction over here.
Okay, so her body is facing this way, out this way, her face,
the front plane of her face is facing this way.
Okay, so there is an angle here and her body's turned this way
but to counter it her eye line is this direction.
Coming back this way. So this makes a real complex dynamic,
which really makes us stronger line in your
composition by having these different angles going on. So
your eye line or your horizon or your eye level is right in
here with her. Okay, but her body is turning away. Her face
is at three quarter to the left, but her eyes are down and three
quarters to the right like this, which brings your eye
back into this over here. Now this shape here is really
strong. Okay, which balances this area of focus in here. So
otherwise it would be very tight on that side. Get a little larger
and we'll lay in a simple wash
so you can see how that.
Just using a little paint thinner with the paint.
I'm not using any kind of a medium. That's just a quick
little wash in here.
And the back of her
hair piece goes - fades into the background. Okay, and the front
end is held sharp
or a sharper edge.
So I'm looking at what falls into light and falls into shadow and
most of this shape would go into shadow here like this,
little bit of a fold in here.
So this is basically the matrix of this painting.
It's light and in this case light versus shadow patterning
that I've designated first. But this is where I'm going to find
a balance in the composition and this these dynamic angles
and how they're going to work from there. Once I've set my
light versus shadow areas like this I can go in and look at
local values and see what's going to make the difference
with those shapes and I might have a couple
different values in the light and I might have a couple
different values in the shadows areas as well. So
what I might do in a situation like this is
just mix a darker value of what would be in the shadow
or a lighter value of what would be in the shadow?.Okay,
so I'm not looking at exactly black.
It's a little bit lighter. I'm going to save the black for
some of my
But I need a good separation between what's in light, what's
in the shadow and how that's going to work. I can see that
there's similar value. Up in here is as my form goes into
I'm going into that kind of a...
Slightly lighter, but I'm going to keep it within the same
value group as this value in here.
As her skin softly goes into shadow.
And as I'm putting on the paint too, I'll often over paint
meaning I'll paint outside the shapes and then I'll come back
and find the shapes.
That keeps me from over rendering or being too precious
with any particular area because I can always come back
and rebuild that shape or find that shape a little bit
Her white collar in shadow is still - it still needs to be
pretty dark as it has to sit within that shadow.
Now if I'm looking at her
her coat in light.
Okay, so I'm going to look at this whole area.
I'm just going to fill in this whole area.
The light source is obviously coming from the upper left over
this way. So anything that's closer to the light and more
aiming towards the light source is going to get lighter. So
this is getting - this region up here is gonna be the lightest
region because it's more direct to the light source
coming in. This being a little farther away down here the light's
going to fall off a little bit. As you can see it gets a little
bit darker now, her coat is a little bit darker than her
bandanna up here but you're going to also see a little bit of the
fall off as you can see larger forms will reflect more light
as well. So this form of her forehead is a larger surface
area. Her forehead is going to appear lighter than her chin
and these smaller forms down here. You can see it fall off
and taper down there. Okay, so that's what I'm going to be
looking for as I lay in these simple values
and I'll put these in first.
get the initial values in.
This sits in the back here, these go into shadow there.
I'm going to soften that edge up there then I'm going to make
light up here again.
And then what I'm going to do is I'm going to go in and lay
in her the value of her skin. It's a little smaller area but
usually start with a shadow area or the
darkest grouping and I'll lay that in, first my matrix, then the
darker grouping. Okay, and these shadow areas in here and
then I'll jump to the area in light and that's where I came
into the value here. It's subtle in there. But
that's one of the beautiful things about this painting, its
So the next value up would be her skin.
So I'm going into the
same mixture here, but I'm adding some white into it. So I
know I can just - I'm just stepping that up a little bit
now it's a little bit dark. I don't get the contrast that I
need here, but it might be right for the area down here.
Mixing your values it's always kind of - and color - it's a case
of really groping. There's no absolute mixture. There's no
recipe to get any one particular thing. You're
looking at relative relationship. So if I put
something down that here it appears a little bit - just a
little bit too dark.
Bring this down just slightly darker in here in the
cheek area. And then as it starts falling away from the
form down here.
Falling away from the light source.
And like I said, I'll generally over paint areas and then I can
come back and paint through and adjust values as I go.
On her forehead where it's lightest on her, bring up
a bit lighter in value.
And play that across her forehead like this.
Can go even lighter yet.
See this light up the bridge of her nose here.
Soften that in as it enters right where her forehead
Okay, the white collar is really white, almost a solid
And the whites of her eyes are very white as well, but you can
see in the whites of her eyes there's still a little room for
a highlight too so I don't want to go completely white but
And once I get my whitest white on here, I get an idea
about how light I can go with this. I can bring it just a
little bit lighter.
Darker area under her eyes.
That's a little too light, take that down.
Now over on this eye, it's not going to be as dark as this one again
because this is closer to the the light source.
But there is a darkening here
under her eyes, the form under her eye turning away from the
light source. It's a little too dark, bring that back up to the
right value here.
Now I can go in and kind of
soften some of the shapes or readjust some of the values and
some of the shapes underneath her lower lip it's a
little bit darker than her lip itself. The shadow takes over
so the light rolls around her lip into a little bit of a
shadow underneath it.
Again, kind of reinforcing the same angle of the
kind of the tilt on her face.
Just reinforcing some of the - going into shadow some of the going into Shadow some of
the marks in here.
What was that?
Again, this is a real subtle painting with some
beautiful value shifts in here
so I want to make sure that I can get some of the - some of
those subtle variations it gives us.
Because there's so much depth in there.
And it contrasts this subtleties in here. I'm going to have some
really stark contrast in here. Okay, and this is really
setting up for this because you have to have - if you're gonna have
something soft you want to have something hard so that you see
the difference between. And what I'm going to do is I'll make
these marks over here much more -
I have a lot more rough contrast and
really make obvious strokes. have a lot more rough contrast
this edge a little bit harder. Same thing here. Well I'll just
sweep that in just a little bit to get your eye moving in that
Then I'm going to go and add a little bit lighter
highlight along the edge in here. This plane that kind
of comes right down in there. And this as you can see it's
painted obviously more rough and
higher contrast than some of the areas in here and putting
it next to that area it really makes the other area a little
And if I'm going to refine the shape of this matrix, I can I
can come up here and pull this -
pull this in.
Saving some of the darkest darks for like her eye.
Then again just refining a couple of more little
bits in here. Inside
of her mouth.
Last little bits that I'm going to just kind of put on
here, just getting some of the edges
to build some of these transitions that go like from
here from like dark into the - into these - the form under her
This is a passage that goes from the form into the
background. So it's important that we have some of those to
soften that edge.
And the whole edge is going to be soft, a little bit
soft as well.
But it's not going to be soft over a large surface, it's just
soft along the edge.
That would create a like a fast turn so it turns quickly and
that's pretty much what's going on over here.
And if I get into some of the real darker darks down in here,
it's going to let me set up for
placing the ear in there
and subsequently her earring.
As I lay in some of these subtle values I see that
there's more subtle values, but I'm just adjusting the
transition from light to shadow in here.
And all these little subtle areas in here where
there's turns of planes where we see the fabric
turn and change its value, these are all - I
have to keep these values close in here, but I know how close
to keep them because I set the values in these other areas. So
wherever you have something subtle, maybe you want to set
up your greater contrast first and then get more subtle in
those areas where you going to see those -
you're going to see those things really pay off.
Just going to pull this out just a little bit more.
By pulling it out I just mean I'm going to raise the value of
this just a little bit more up in here. So it really pulls it
forward a little bit. It'll be a little bit lighter in the
top plane of this
sleeve so you see the cut of the fabric,
probably even the hard fold. So you see the weight of the
So that's pretty much it. The main thing that I want to kind
of pull across here was
just kind of setting up the matrix looking for the
design or the pattern of your light and dark pattern and
how it affects the composition
and particularly with these, like I mentioned her
frontal plane here, this front plane of her face facing this
direction - get a little more paint on here so you can see -
facing this direction.
And the side back here.
This strong diagonal and then kind of rougher brush stroke is
a nice contrast to the nice - the subtle curves and also the soft
gradations within her face to have something really hard and
rough and straight next to it lays a nice contrast. So it
always makes this look a little softer here and then
her body facing out this way.
So with these different directions that I line coming
Over here basically aiming this direction is a nice counter to
these frontal planes moving in that direction.
to be a Frederic Remington painting. It's a nocturn and
it's in simple values. It's just a few three four values,
but they're really separated with close values in the dark
range and very close value in the light range. So they're
separated quite a bit. You'll see that. But I want to show you
the different shapes that her uses and how he moves your eye
across this 2D shape or 2D surface with the shapes. So
we'll get started painting that here.
Again, what I'm going to do is start laying in my matrix, just
the basic design pattern, overall design pattern these
shapes. But what I want to do is I want to look at the shapes
as we put them in there and maybe how they sit on the
canvas. So I'm seeing that the hind end of the horse is
the darkest or is a dark area, but it only comes out to about
And then the the bottom of the cabin
is about here.
These kind of sit about thirds or this about a quarter. This
is about a third
on here. Then when I see is the roof line is really broken
Something like this. And the
the side of the cabin
somewhere in here, but it's broken up too.
The horse itself, the saddle.
Okay, so this is the back of the horse about here.
I can see over in about this area here is where the cowboy
is along this line here.
Okay from the bottom of the cabin is going to have some
perspective to it but the snow coming down here is going to
drop at the threshold and we're going to see a little bit of
the shadow coming out from the horse.
Looking at the silhouettes that are working here.
part of the saddle,
back into the saddle.
Easier to get at,
this whole area here
is one simple mass.
The head of the horse is
into that silhouette of the building.
So this is pretty much the simple silhouette of this dark
mass in here.
From this point there's like a mid-range value, a a like a mid-range value a
simple lighter value which I'll
create in here.
And the mid-range value is picking up the sky. It's coming
from the sky
and some buildings in the distance.
I'm going to put this shape in and then we'll look at the
directional angle of these shapes.
We have a roof line
and then coming down
to a closer roof.
This is kind of interesting because we have the shape of
this snow on the roof line coming down here like this.
Okay, and it leads our eye back to this back building here
which brings us around to this front. And then we have some
grass coming through the snow
in this direction, kind of pulling us back -
pulling us back into the image. Okay even have a few
like that to bring your eye back around here and you can
see how the snow comes up and around there's a little bit
exposed here. It goes down into where the threshold is and then
down into where the snow is. And even this shape, the back of
the neck of the horse and down its back of the shadow it
brings your eye in here and then pulls your eye up and
around. Now out of these simple values
his hat, the Cowboy's hat is a similar value to
that mid value range. So I'll go ahead and put that in.
It's like way up here.
Okay, it's not much lighter than the building but we have
that a little bit lighter in the building there. And then his
coat is darker. His coat and his face is in shadow of
which is really dark.
So I'll put that dark accent
Okay, so now I'm adding that fourth value. So I have
the white, I put in this darker grey, I had the lighter one, and
now I'm laying in this dark that
really defines his coat at night.
This dark shape in here, his glove, this is the shadow of his
glove on his leg.
And then his arm.
He's pounding on the door.
So I'm going to look at at the different angles I can see.
This kind of a lines with these buildings turning this around
moving back into this direction, you know the back
leg kind of goes in at an angle like this. And then the horn of
the saddle is
an obvious little angle in there that sits on top. Things
pushing you back into this area. In fact, even the the
cowboy here at the door.
I'm going to put a little bit more slope on him because he's
leaning in a little bit here.
I'm just push this back just a little bit and
pushing back over here. He's pounding on the door and his
shadow is going to be dark again going into this area
of the threshold down there.
This is going to be parallel to the top up here. So, you
know in perspective it's going to come across here and go
right near his hat.
of the door and then the drop of the shadow.
There's a window back here that continues this line. So we're
seeing a line that begins here and then picks up again and
then picks up again in the end over here. It creates a closure
when you have three spots or sometimes two spots, you start
to connect those, your eye will connect those things and that's
what we call closure.
And then the shadow underneath this eve and these heavy
and the icicles that are sticking down are going to cast
And that's going to bring your eye down here
the wooden logs for this cabin and they're going to make a
little directional area, gonna bring you back around this way.
I'm going to bring it back into the picture or Remington
brought you back into the picture. We're just pointing
those things out.
And all of these little marks, it's not just a case of
rendering. It's a case of moving your eye. He's really
moving the viewer's eye through the picture using these little
marks. So as I'm painting these things I'm thinking about not
just rendering little bits but what I'm looking at is I'm
looking at how they work in the total picture. So when we're
looking at composition or trying to work out our
composition, it's about how all those marks affect the total,
not the rendering of individual parts, so
composition is probably more about the glue. It's the
relationships or the interrelationships of the
things within the picture and how they relate together.
That's more important to the composition than rendering of
look very simple
in their initial plan, but they hold together really strong and
they move your eye from area to area and he's got some
beautiful rendering, some beautiful likeness in there.
But at the same time he's getting really strong shapes
that actually move your eye and work to help move your eye
through the composition and keep yourself, keep the viewer
focused and understand the subject matter, the story behind it. So he's
really telling his story much much clearer with the shapes
and arrangement of the shapes and then any rendering of what
those things might be.
Might be a little bit of a shadow on that.
The door, the way it's cut there's a little bit
of a shadow under the support. The door is made of verticals,
but there is the support to hold them all together is is
horizontal and so you can see it kind of moves right across
here right into his eye line.
And then again at the bottom of the door down here.
This is the bottom and this is the
underside of this crossbeam that,
again, some of the shadows dropping down from the...
Eves coming out under the snow.
And with simple values, just simple value groups, I can -
if I'm looking for those value groups and putting those things
together, I can get
a pretty close likeness to
the setup of the composition.
When I say the setup, I mean the
matrix, the overall design pattern.
Okay so my basic basic four values there.
I can go back and
I'll see that there's very little - in my light pattern here
of the snow
there's not a lot of contrast in the light
pattern of this matrix.
The dark pattern of the matrix, which is the black, this
value and this value, there you can see there's three different
values that I put in there that are that are all making up that
that dark pattern. So, you know, even his hat sits
inside of that dark pattern and I don't want to break it too
much. So what I'll do is if I want to make the hat stand out
a little bit more I can make it a little bit lighter, but I
want to make sure that I have good enough contrast between
anything in this darker mass with anything in the light. So
darker value in the light area -
I'll go ahead and put that in since I worked some of the values
in the shadow. I'm going to go ahead and put a couple -
a subtle variation in that
value and light.
That we might see something along the edge or side
plane of this the snow as it as it comes out.
And then a little bit as the melting snow gets a
little bit of a wash into his
A little of the break up
He also has a fence back here that kind of works as a little
Something like that kind of bringing us back up into this
area like that.
In the snow, that kind of feeds out, it steps down just
like our buildings, our a little outbuildings back there step
down as well.
I'm just going to touch up a couple of little areas
Make the door just slightly darker in value than the
building - the rest of the building.
That's about the same value as the
shadow on his hat.
And against the snow all these - even though his pants are
in light against the snow they're going to seem dark.
The shadow isn't so stiff like that. It rolls into the side of
So it it's broken up a little bit down in here that also
helps us - helps move our eye through this image.
Instead of having something just quite so rigid like that.
log sits through there.
And I'll put a darker accent in here just to -
just to bring the contrast right there where I want to - I
want to have a good little focal point
and have a little bit more contrast. So I'll create that.
Making the building a little lighter and the hat a
Most of the way through this I can manipulate - manipulate all
these shapes just a little bit as I go. So I paint over and
paint back and paint over and paint back and that's how I can
kind of build it up. But I first want to set up my
strong contrast and my matrix so that my
composition reads clearly
and then as I go in I can just kind of build these little
nuances in here.
Yeah and create this -
create the feeling of more of like a log cabin in here.
Having these things
a little lighter in there.
Defining some of the curve around some of it.
Kind of picking it up underneath.
And so I'm just kind of moving it through and I see somewhere
obvious I can put those things in.
Make some of these marks a little bit smaller.
And then there's some areas where there's a little bit of
snow capped on the -
on some of the
beams that are sticking out from this log cabin.
And that's pretty much it. And those are the little bits that
I'm going to have in them. I'm still going to be looking at
those based on the composition. I'm going to see just where
they are and how they work with with his composition
and they're just little directional things. So anytime I
have little marks like that, the direction, you know,
do they the brush strokes go this way or this way. Think
about where they go and where you want the viewer's eye to go.
Maybe move them along that path
like these. If I'm going to trim some of these shapes
and I want to be the size of those footprints.
I might just
make these strokes along the path that I want your eye to go,
flatten that out just a little bit.
Because truly if these are absolutely accurate to the
actual footprint or not, it really doesn't matter in the
big picture. What really matters is that you're moving the
viewer's eye through this picture, so
that's really where I put my priority with these and
and it seems to be where Remington put his priority
when he was building the composition because it all fits
together nicely how he's placed this -
made this arrangement. As simple as it is, it's still - each mark,
each building, each shape leads your eye around into the next
component of the composition, so.
matrix that Rembrandt might have taken compared to a
composition that Botticelli might have made. So I'm going to
do both of these two images side-by-side and I'll do them
at the same time so you can see a one-to-one comparison
about what they felt was most dominant in their compositions
or in these two portraiture pieces.
Okay, I'm going to start with the Rembrandt painting on
the left side and the Botticelli on the right side.
The Rembrandt composition is a little bit more squared off. So
I'm going to can take the bottom off of this one.
Now the difference between the Rembrandt and the Botticelli is
that Rembrandt designed - he was composing around the quality of
light and light versus shadow or chiaroscuro. Whereas
design pattern was really more like notan, though it was
previous to his understanding of notan, it was still a design
bend or a design bias that he had or was popular during that
period of time. So
had this frame within a frame in his piece. And so
I'll go ahead and put that in.
Okay, and this frame within a frame gives the appearance of
greater depth or the appearance that he's so close
to the surface by a tangent up here. He's so close to the
surface that it might make him feel more realistic.
And I'm going to look at the overall top to bottom and side
to side and look for any indicators or markers above
center is somewhere where you know, his collar is and then
his chin would come up somewhere. Not quite that high.
Somewhere in there like that.
His arm comes down to the outside of this
frame, outside the frame, and then breaks inside somewhere
somewhere just below there. His collar.
And then on the other side.
And you can see the
the shapes that I'm making are working like contour shapes.
I'm looking at how these shapes -
how these takes shapes go around the boundary.
of certain masses.
They go around the boundaries on these masses here. Let me
just finish up with it the head on here.
Direction is here, comes down that way.
Okay, so you can see that this is pretty much about the
contours. Okay, these lines are all moving around the
outside boundaries of these masses.
His hair, the frame within a frame,
his plate, his hands, even on his face here it's all about going
around the boundaries of these forms. Whereas on the of these forms. Whereas on the
he's painting the quality or the effect of light.
So he's more concerned with -
he's more concerned with the light and shadow pattern.
So this is what the way we might view his painting.
You barely perceive the edge of the hat out here. It's real
subtle and then his hair comes in here and then
his ear and just a little bit of a shape of the ear and then
hair comes up this way.
Okay. So the main thing here is I've just blocked in this this
area of the mass but really
Rembrandt was more interested in the shadow shape
and you'll see it as I lay in the matrix on this
So as I break his painting into a pattern of light and shadow,
over here the Botticelli's going to be broken into light
This all goes into the background.
This soft edge.
So we can take a look at this and we can see that clearly
Rembrandt's interest was trying to capture the effect of light
versus shadow and so his matrix
or the patterning that he's created with his light versus
shadow shapes in his initial lay in,
the design of his painting is really about light falling
across this form.
Even if it's as it turns around here, I'll darken a couple of
edges, even the softening of you know, some of his beard and
mustache and stuff. So this is really where he was at in terms
of his design pattern.
Whereas you look at a Botticelli, and
his painting is really more about the local values.
So the dark masses were really contained not by light and
Shadow but by the mass and this - the mass of his shirt, the dark
mass of the shirt here.
And it sets up a whole different kind of matrix.
what we might call notan dominant.
Now the interesting thing is when you - I'll block them in first.
I'll block each of them in first and then we can take a look at
them and then I'll go in and lay in the intermediate values
and when you start breaking down the intermediate values
then you'll see a whole other phase of this, too.
This is black.
It's like a beveled edge with this frame within a frame.
Botticelli or a situation where this we might call this notan
dominant because these local values determine the
matrix. This might be chiaroscuro dominant because mostly in
this area the
light versus shadow is dominant. So there's the
difference between those two. Now when it comes to the
intermediate values within the light side or within the dark
side, whether it be light versus shadow or light versus
dark, those gradients or those changes within those areas
again are going to be different. These are going to
the effect of light versus the fact of shadow. These are going
to be color - or value transitions within zone to
zone. So I'll drop in
the Rembrandt first and and then I'll do some of the
So if I stay with some of the darks - within the dark region
there's some areas that are just a little bit lighter and a
little bit darker. So I'll
mix up a value. That's a little bit lighter than what I've laid
and I see that's kind of how we pick up
the background. It's very subtle back here.
And that's how we hold on to some of that.
And if we want to hold onto the back of his coat
lighten this just a little bit and then down here, too.
I also see a little bit the back of his hat.
And we also see a little bit in his hair.
Just pick up just a slight bit.
And his hand in here.
We might get the darkest darks.
Against those lighter values and that's how I'll hold on to some of that toe. Hold on to some of
Okay. So in the dark region, I've just added a little bit
darker and a little bit lighter, just giving a little bit of a
range within there. In the Botticelli,
the areas that that get a little bit darker
might be in a zone like this
of his hair. Okay.
And that on his coat here.
And it's not as much - it reflects a little bit of the
light and shadow, but the contrast range isn't nearly as
great as it is on the
on the Rembrandt.
Because he wants to keep the - keep the boundaries or the big
value changes between the -
within the local color zones or local value zones.
Even within the zones you might take a look at at his coat here
and the difference between the darkest dark and the range of
contrast or the lighter areas and the darker areas within
this mass and then we're going to look at his hair and look at
that mass. Even there what he's done. In particular here is
he's created some of these areas contain a little more
contrast than others and he's kept that within boundaries as
well. So it's a little bit more form in these forms of
the hair than anywhere else and maybe that's because he wants
to draw your eye into this area and pull your eye in there.
Okay, so I wouldn't make this
value. I'll darken it down a little bit
because I don't want that same degree of contrast for the area
of his coat.
See this area is going to contain a little less contrast
than that of his hair.
little bit of a bevel here.
This lighter area out here.
Okay. So these are - that's a little bit of tonal that's a little bit of tonal
range in the dark side of the matrix. There's - now we can take
a look at the light side. The area is that we that
I left light in these two design patterns and we can in
these two matrixes. And then what we can do is we can take a
look at how they might explore those two. Again this one, the
Rembrandt is going to be
developed by the effect of light versus shadow, so going
to have a form effect on here. This one is going to be more
notan. It's going to be flatter. Though there will be
gradients in here, they won't necessarily be that
contrasting. So I'll put - I'll work in the light areas now
and I'll put in the darker value of the light areas.
On the Rembrandt it would be the forms that start to turn
along the edge of the form that I'm going to be reading these.
Some of those transition period - area in his hair and stuff. We'll
see a little bit of that too. And the transition right at the
edge of his ear it's not - there's not a super amount of
contrast right along the edge there and that softens it up
quite a bit.
Okay, that's kind of the lower end of the light side of the
matrix. Now, what I'll do is I'll mix the lighter value of
Lower lip in here is a little bit darker than his skin above
but it's still
same thing down here. It gets
into some of the folds in here. It does get a little bit darker
along the edge down here.
This is a stronger area in here, highest contrast in there.
Where we see the lightest light up in here too and some of
highest bits up in there.
It's interesting how these just got line right up here and
bring your eye right up in here. It also gives you a
little bit of this little lighter cuff here too. So bring
your eye up into that image.
I'm going to -
I'm gonna put a little bit of these,
his jewelry on here.
Because that's breaking into this as well. He plays a lot
of into the - playing up the highlights sitting on jewelry
too, the thicker thicker paint.
this little darker region and these little bits of the these little bits of
gives the effect of being metal.
It's up here.
So he's all about light and shadow and that's this light
dark pattern is all about the light versus shadow.
Okay now on the Botticelli
if I go into the light zone on him,
he's got a lighter region
but it stays within these - within the boundaries of these
Some people might call this graphic or more graphic, just
meaning a bit more hard edge and
it's really because it's based on notan that appears hard
edged because what's happening is it's designed by
these flat masses of one value against another value.
Okay, and so within that zone
the gradient lies.
It's subtle, but it just it stays within the zone and it's
not based on light versus shadow.
So we get this spatial quality here because it's lighter here
wants to come forward and it's darker up there wants to go
back. So you get some kind of a spatial bending, but it's not
about the form.
And on his face
it's a light value overall.
I'm going to drop it in. Because its dominant value all kind of
sits together, I can put the whole thing in as pretty much
started off as one value.
Save a little bit of my drawing there so I can see where I'm
What I've done with it.
When I placed his eyes and so on.
and to keep your eye focused up there when I go to lay in is
the value of his hands. I'm going to drop the value just a
little bit. If I mixed a little bit darker just so that the
lighter value sits up there, even though those are his hands
down here. They're going to all be just a little bit darker. So
they don't draw your attention quite as much as his face does.
Okay in the lightest
this painting is going to be the whiteness of his collar
right in here. So I'm going to drop that in
so that I can see as it goes a little darker over here
it would be the same value as that on his neck. But since
there's a subtle shadow
but the local values remain dominant over the light versus
shadow on this painting. So I'm going to make sure that my
contrast is very very close between what would be in light
and what would be in Shadow?
So I'm going to make this slightly darker and regain that
on his neck.
to his collar.
Just build that up slightly.
All through this area
there is the feeling of light versus shadows as I'm laying in
this little darker value in here, but you can see the
contrast between light versus shadow here is very different
between the contrast of light versus shadow in this painting.
And the design shape of a matrix is very different. I'm
always going to maintain this boundary. That's the important
thing about this particular design
as opposed to that one.
And I get a little bit - again I get a little bit of form in
these areas of his skin as well, but it holds together
with this zone,
the zone of these masses so that it doesn't
stand out like all of a sudden there's just so much
form on these hands.
I might have some really dark
Turn up and get that distinctive nose.
And on the Botticelli
he also has dark accidents within this painting, within
this zone. His eyes being
some of the darker accents.
He also may push just a little bit, just to
get like his nostril in there.
Corner of a mouth.
Gonna get a little strong edge to get a Edge to get a
what appears to be just a little bit more form out just to
get that chin to stand out just a little bit
Whereas on the Rembrandt the little highlights are going to
be the effect of light there, the little highlights that sit
on top. Okay. So the design pattern here is going to be
really again I'm just reiterating this but the design
pattern here is really based on these edges
and the Contours.
Whereas on the Rembrandt it's based on the light versus
shadow. So these light shapes that might start hard up here
blend over the form and go into shadow here. So it's a whole
different type of design in this type of a painting than in
this type of painting, even though that
there's subtleties and nuances that happen to turn planes
here. There's subtleties and gradations to shift the values
within masses here on this painting. So, you know, on a
painting like this too edges are just extremely critical. So
if some of the edges are like softened up a little bit, you
start to get a little bit more of a quality of - life like
quality. Your paintings can be somewhere in the middle, if you
like painting this way or this way, however you want, but you
can notice that the edges are going to have a really strong
the outcome where these edges are all soft along the
shadow side. These are just manipulated hard to soft and
they can manipulate anyway you want. They can go from harder
down here to softer
up here if you'd like.
Then those change of edges also give us some spatial quality
just like this background gradient here, just like the
different gradients on his skin here and you can see this area
in here has more - this zone in here has more contrast than
any other zone in here. So what happens is in fact, what I'll
do is I'll just diminish this a little bit because it does have
a lot of contrast. So if I diminish this, the contrast here
just a little bit even soften up some of the edges a little
you see it loses its importance overall in our eyes now go back
up to here where it should.
Reference Images (6)
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1. Lesson Overview54sNow playing...
1. Introducing Value15m 10sNow playing...
1. Demonstration With Major and Minor Key (1)12m 40sNow playing...
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2. Demonstration With Major and Minor Key (2)14m 27s
3. Setting Up and Value Contrast22m 50s
4. Vermeer Painting (1)14m 50s
5. Vermeer Painting (2)15m 31s
6. Vermeer Painting (3)19m 46s
7. Remington Painting (1)15m 5s
8. Remington Painting (2)22m 22s
9. Rembrandt Painting (1)14m 34s
10. Rembrandt Painting (2)14m 59s
11. Rembrandt Painting (3)16m 22s