Friday, June 7, 2013

The Importance of Darks

When I paint a subject like this one, I'll often get to the midtones and then start thinking about how to highlight the focal point.  More often than not, I'll start putting in really dark values near the point I want to emphasize.  Then I'll work out from there, diluting the value as I go to retain the strong contrast I've created around my focal area. 

This approach also has the added benefit of "forcing the lights", a term I learned from Robert E. Wood's book to describe the dramatic lighting that can occur as a result of extreme contrasts of value.

One thing to be aware of:  If the values around the dark are all light, the dark shapes will pop out instead of the object or area that you want to give attention to.  So try to get midtones leading up to the darks as a transition. This is especially apparent in the water where the near water is dark, but there is a midtone transitioning to the highlighted area in the reflection of the tree.

So much to think about, isn't there?!

Don't forget my workshop in Acadia, Maine---Sept. 16 - 20th.  Still a few spots left.

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