So it has been a couple of weeks since my last post. As mentioned before I started to paint Plein Air paintings because I found my landscapes to be flat. I was hoping that in doing on site paintings this problem would be fixed but all I found I was doing was repeating these same problems. So I took a step back and did a lot of research as to what I was doing wrong. Through my research I found many things I was doing wrong. First of these was my tonal depth was off. But a big part of this came from not taking into consideration the paint I was using. What I mean is that I rarely use black paint. It kills colors, making them dull and lifeless. Well what I never considered before is that white will also do this. I’ve always known that black and white are not colors but tones. I just never thought of them as the same coin and thus both dramatically affecting the colors they are mixed with. So if I wasn’t going to use white as much as I was what was I going to use to lighten up my colors? Well the answer was either I buy precise premixed colors which is both expensive and can limit your choices or I just use light versions of my main colors. I went with the later. I’ve now added a light yellow, for my warm colors and a light blue for my cool colors. In using these instead my colors keep their chroma and value base, without becoming dull and chalky.
Also I learned a lot more about color theory. I learned there are 4 properties to paint, Value, Hue, Chroma and Temperature. Value is light and dark (grey scale). Hue is the name of the color itself and I don’t mean “sand” or “Sea Green”, I mean “Red, Yellow and Blue”. Chroma is the color’s relative brightness or dullness. A fire truck is a bright red hue but a brick is a duller red hue. Temperature is how warm or cool a color is. Red, yellow and orange are warm, where as blue, green and violet are cool as a general rule.
I learned not only about value contrasts but also Hue, Chroma and Temperature contrasting too. All to produce a better more visually appealing painting.
With this I learned that dramatic value passages are for more appealing to the viewer then similar ones which tend to blend together thus making a dull boring looking painting. A passage is an area of the painting.
For example the single blueberry in this still life painting is a passage or an area the eye moves across it and onto other passages around the painting.
So to test all of this I did a test painting. This is the result of it.
Now see the side by side comparison to see the difference. The one on the left is before and the one on the right is after. Also remember both paintings were painted at the same time of day and the same location.
I think I’ll do one more test painting before going out to do another Plein Air painting to further en-grain the new skills and knowledge.