I've been a traveling girl these past few weeks, which means sporadic hours at my easel, but it does not mean I have neglected my art education. A year or so ago I purchased e-ditions (I just made that word up!) of several years of the American Artist and Workshops magazines that I slowly read through when I'm away from the paints. One article that entranced me this time was by Daniel Gerhartz, circa 2005, about creating the illusion of form and light on the 2-dimensional canvas. Three key elements: relative value, color temperature, and edge treatment are the tools to make it happen.
As simple as those words sound, understanding the concepts and applying them is like learning to speak a new language fluently. I mean, I can order a beer in Mexico, but I pretty much massacre the Spanish. Fortunately, nobody cares too much. Ay carumba.
Value is the relationship of darks and lights on the canvas. The accuracy of your subject depends on how the values relate to each other. Everyone knows that shadows are dark, right? The artist has to determine how dark to make them in relation to, say, the shadowed side of the vase she's painting. Gerhartz says that each brushstroke of paint must be consciously measured with what is already on the canvas. How many times have I casually slapped paint onto my canvas without thought or understanding and then struggled to bring the subject to life!
Here's an exercise for you: take one of your photos and edit it to black and white…easy to do on a smart phone or tablet…instead of seeing color, you will see value: dark, medium, light. And your brain will interpret it as form. You will see depth and shape; perhaps even recognition of what exactly the subject is.
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...