Sunday, July 12, 2015


Most students are really afraid to commit to a dark shape and value.  The first problem seems to be that they don't have enough paint on their palette to mix a strong dark and then put it down with authority.  The second problem is that they isolate the darks against values that are too much of a contrast.  The key here is to use gradation, gradually going from light to a midtone to the darkest value. 

Study the reflections in this painting.  The reflections of the tree shape on the shore go from dark to midtone to the reflection of the sun which is the lightest and the most colorful part of the composition. The ripples on the right hand side of the foreground have two shades of midtones leading up to the dark reflection of the boat.

So get some paint on your palette, mix up two complementary colors and have a fairly good sized puddle, and then strike in those darks with confidence!

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