May 11, 2017

From the Itty-bitty to Humongous, Values Matter - Painting & Drawing Tips


I love to paint miniatures.  I mean really, really small art pieces.  Miniatures are a very intimate type of art.  Where the humongous pictures want you to stand back, my little pictures invite you to come close and enjoy their fine detail.  This type of art has been popular since the Middle Ages.  Its main uses was to provide a portrait of a loved one that was small enough to wear as a necklace or carry in a pocket or pouch.  By today's standards those type of portraits were small.
MOM & POP WOOD DUCK - watercolour, 2.25 x 4
Miniature Shows today will accept pictures up to 12 square inches, 3 x 4 or any combination of measurements to that size.  I like the 3 x 4 inch size but I am always challenging myself to go smaller.  My latest pieces, Mom & Pop Wood Duck and Wood Duck Waddle measure 2.25 x 4 and 4 x 2.25 respectively.(9 sq. inches)  They are off to Levis, Quebec for the International Miniature Show, held there every 2 years.  This is a major show with pictures coming from over 173 artists and 21 different countries. I am very excited to have my little guys part of the show.  

WOOD DUCK WADDLE - Watercolour, 4 x 2.25
Whether you are working with an itty-bitty or humongous painting the same principles are important.  In working with these little portraits I was reminded of the Values.  You often hear painters say it doesn't matter what colour it is it is, it's the Value that is important.  As one that struggles with the hot/cold colour choices in my paintings I find this a ray of hope when I am 'stuck with my colour choice'.  

 By Values I mean the shades of gray from White to Black. Whether your work is in colour or black and white, each part has a value which is interpreted by the eye. 
Value Scale- White is 1 and Black is 11 (some scales go to 9 or 10)
I decided to use the magic of the digital world to see the differences of value with my little guys.  My Wood Duck was happy to oblige as a model. 

Original Picture - Backgroud is a 2/3
Original Picture - head and upper body have the Punch and your Attention
Mid Value - Background is a 5/6
Background Value pushed up to a mid tone - head and upper body still have some punch but now the white markings on the chest are competing and will need to be toned down.  

Dark - Background is a 8/9
Background Value pushed to the upper limits - there is still a focus on the head but other markings are pulling the eye around.  They will need to be adjusted to get a good eye movement happening.
As you can see things change a great deal when the value around them changes.  Note my watermark, which is the same value throughout almost disappears in the final example.

So how does this help. . . .

1.  Looking at the values of an image in black and white removes the pull of that favourite colour and helps you see what is going on in the painting.
2.  Value affects the focus point or area of emphasis in the picture
3.  An area can be muted by placing similar values beside it.
4.  The Bigger the contrast in values the more emphasis on that area.

I find it interesting to note that the really dark value looks good with my Wood Duck.  The background value is now darker than his body which now appears lighter.  The mid value is the only one that I feel is not effective for my little guy.
Which one do you like best?

I am off to Scotland soon and focusing on my Travel Journal.  Time to get your journal ready, there are lots of tips in my Travel Journal Series which starts  HERE.

Great Opportunity to get some help with drawing: My  Drop-In and Draw Sessions  for May are Monday, May 8 & 15,  10-12pm, or  1-3pm.  Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.  June Dates: Monday, June 12 & 19, 10-12pm & 1-3pm.  Still 1 Spot available in each. 
       Bring your sketchbook and your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Registration Required. Contact Me.

June 11- Art on the Farm, Kilby Historical Site, Harrison Mills. Join us for an Awesome ART Filled Day - sketch on the farm, join in hands-on drawing and painting sessions, see the sights.  My Hands-on Sessions will be at 12 & 2pm.  We will be drawing one of my flower favourites, Blackeyed Susies.  Have coffee and fresh pie afterwards at the cafe.  My personal favourite.  No registration, cost site fee only. 

 Etsy Shop now Open: WendyMouldsArt  Come on In!!
Special Offer: 3 Horse Cards = 1 Pack = Instant Download for only $12
 My 3 Horse Doodle Cards LET'S RIDE, LITTLE ONE AND FREE SPIRIT are 1 Digital Downloads Pack at my Etsy Shop.  Yes, you can print and personalize your own cards instantly. Your family and friends will love them. They are great for any occasion. See the story of their creation here.

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 Have a great artful day,


Brenda Hill CDM said...

these are adorable! Enjoy your holiday lucky you

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks Brenda, I like those little guys. I am really attracted to their colours - so regal and yet comical.