Friday, July 4, 2014

The Value Dance

The Value Dance:  Step back; squint; compare; judge; step forward eyes open; paint; step back and repeat, repeat, repeat the dance throughout the painting process.


The proper way to squint: step back about  eight feet, squint down till you are looking
 AT YOUR SUBJECT,  NOT YOUR PAINTING, through your eyelashes.
 
I did the Value Dance all day yesterday. I was self-training for painting.  While stepping back has been a consistent thing with me, squinting has not.  When I finally heard of squinting as being a good thing to do to evaluate values, I didn't know I was supposed to squint at my subject, not my painting.

July 2nd, at the end of the session JD looked like this. I hadn't squinted at all. I had established the darkest value and
the mid-tones by comparison, but my lightest values weren't as light at they should be compared to his very dark hair. I was also dissatisfied with some of the halftones that were in the transitional zones. I thought I was beginning to overmodel,. to paint values that were beyond the capabilities of my palette.


July 3rd, I read in Schmid's Alla Prima II, All I Know About Painting and More, a sentence that solved my over modeling tendendies:  'Overmodeling and running out of values can be avoided by substituting color changes for value changes whenever possible.'  Eureaka! But of course! I had to give that a try
and who better to try it on than Depp? He's such a colorful actor.




At the End of my session yesterday, Depp looked like this:



And there's more pronounced color to come and edge work--but after the Fourth of July fireworks. Happy holiday everybody!


16 comments:

  1. I'm loving the progress shots. I just have to get Alla Prima II. I have Alla Prima I. Schmid is such a wonderful teacher. Great work!

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    1. I am having a ball! He has clarified so much information for me that we all heard in various art classes. I'm in the middle of II and about to read edges, aside from his chapter on values, which I just finished, his chapter on edge treatment is extensive. In values, he spent four pages on squinting alone. In July, his third book is coming out. I pre0rdered. It has a chapter on brushwork, something I have not ever really paid much attention to being the bull in a china shop painter up till now. Well worth the expense.

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  2. Dear Linda I wish you a nice July 4th weekend .... there will be fireworks on the lake?

    Your weeks of intense work, painting and reflections on the work of painting.
    Nice to read you and stay in touch with your workflow.

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    1. I have a few more weeks to go--or about 150 pages more of this wise artist's book. I have no idea what I'll need to paint next. My subject choice will be suggested by the techniques I'm studying.

      There will not be fireworks on the lake I'm sorry to say. We might have to seek some out if we're up to it later. Meanwhile we can hear them going off all around us. People buy their own and put on their own shows. Having been injured as a kid doing that sort of thing, i resist the urge.

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  3. I'm still not convinced that you are squinting or just need glasses. I am convinced though that you are doing progress on this portrait and am looking forward to see it evolving. =)

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    1. Squinting to compare values is just enough to see through a veil of eyelashes. Anything more than that I'd be blind. I'll push it a little more than push somebody else around for a while. I have put the idea of finished aside. Indeed, I think I've adopted Schmid's idea of finished. When I've painted the reason I started to paint this subject, I'm done. My reason here was getting the values right. They aren't right yet--but close.

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  4. I spend all day, every day, squinting.................or so it seems. I can never read in the evening and the TV is blurred!

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    1. It was a no no at my house--stop squinting Linda, you'll get wrinkles. Now that I have them, squinting is okay. And it turned out way back then, that I did need glasses. :-)). I still don't have the use of color in place of over modeling, but I thoroughly understand the directive. I'll probably push JD around some more before moving on.

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  5. I love the progress, especially Depp's eyes.

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    1. Trying a new way of thinking. It's interesting when I always advocated not thinking too much when painting--but then I was unschooled and just doing what came naturally. I like this new consciousness.

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  6. The value dance is definitely not my favorite, but we all have to learn it.
    Kathryn

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    1. With each subject, the music changes. The sun shifts in the sky every ten minutes and there's a whole new world of light. Knowing the tools is helpful. Painting everything at all times of day in all kinds of natural light is helpful. Studio live sessions with set lighting is the most helpful. Controlling the situation is ideal, but the less the challenge, the less excitement. I think that's why I favor using the camera. It freezes the moment so we can then concern ourselves with creating the illusion of mass with volume.

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  7. Schmid also uses a pice of glass painted black to check his values with. I don't know it is is in his book or not but have seen him use it. You use it like you would a mirror - looking into it (at the reflected image) held up in front of you, to look at what's behind and if you place yourself correctly, you can check the values in your painting at the same time as looking at the model. No squinting needed to do this. But it doesn't mean you can forget to squint at all. Still must do that as you are comparing and painting. painting. I painted a 5x7" photo frame glass black on backside and placed it back in little frame for comfort to hold. As frame was slim black type it works great. Takes color out of everything and reduces it to pure value changes

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    1. Fascinating! If he did mention it, I missed it. He did mention that a white or black handkerchief placed on your subject if the subject is not wearing anything white or black would serve as a good value comparison standard. I'll have to try your black glass photo frame tool. I am fortunate in that I can read color values pretty accurately when there are a few, but skin tones have many and that's where assistance would be helpful.

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  8. The progression of this portrait is amazing, Linda! I'm afraid I didn't do enough of "squinting" in my last portrait. Schmid is amazing and we should all be reading his books. I have his "Captain's Portrait" video which I haven't gone through totally since its an hour long......time to take the time out to look at it completely...lol

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    1. I'm not looking for a finished portrait. I am practicing color values in flesh tones. I went too far with this one. I guess his strong features and the weird overhead lighting kept me at it. I finally added his head to my wall when I was somewhat satisfied with the elusive gray tones that show in the shadow areas.

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