Making Value Studies

I just returned from giving a workshop in Sonoma County in California. It was one of those great ones! Intense. Everyone pitching in and enthused to learn. Everyone doing the exercises.

My workshops are all about building a solid foundation of design. We don't paint pretty pictures just like the instructor. The lessons and exercises are powerful, insightful and full of challenge.

In coaching everyone and thinking about what I might do with my next paintings, I began to develop a craving to be at my easel. Ideas were sprinting through my mind!

If you have followed this blog, you may recall that last November I was working on Linemen as a subject. I felt these held a lot of promise for developing a unique and interesting series.

Exhausted from the workshop and spinning all sorts of images in my mind last night, I awoke at 3AM and could not sleep for all the ideas that were presenting themselves . . .and I was coming down with a nasty cold. So, I got up, grabbed my sketch book and a cup of hot coffee and went to work on the ideas.

I am looking to make these figures flat and to include some judicious use of line to enhance the image. Also, I have ideas for color schemes which may add some interesting mood. But first, I must work out the value abstractions. That is what these sketches are about: Isolating shapes of light arbitrarily, revising shapes, considering the ratio of Lights, Darks and Mediums. Additionally, trying to make some interesting shapes which will spice up the composition. In other words, making as many alternatives as I could dream up.

On one set of sketches I included two helmets to make a unique shape of white. In another set, I kept but one helmet shape and concentrated on shape and value within the single figure. Click on the pages if you want a closer look at the minor changes I made.

Surely there are more alternatives, but this will be a good start to get to the easel and try a few of them. I can imagine that I could be painting for the next several months (or years!) on this series, since it offers so much potential.

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