Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tonal landscape drawing

A snowy road near Rochester, Vermont

Oh, here I am!  I have been traveling, teaching workshops and always painting. I get e-mail routinely, asking as civilly as possible, "wheres the next post? That makes me feel useful. Here it is.

When last I wrote, I talked about confusing color with value. I see that a lot when I teach. Students add color instead of lowering the value of an object. The shadow side of a green tree becomes greener, not darker in value, the deepest shadows down within the tree become greener still.

I have just finished teaching half a dozen workshops in New England, Mississippi, and in North Carolina. As I taught those, I kept in mind that I wanted to find a way to make the idea easy to grasp for my students. Here is what I think might work.

Many of you have programs on your computer like Photoshop, or photo correction programs that came preloaded into your computer, or installed by your digital camera as part of its software package. There are two adjustments always offered, there are zillions more besides including one that makes your photo look like it was done by Monet, well sort of. But, the one above is important, this slider controls lightness and darkness push the slider one direction it gets darker and the other it gets lighter. This slider is controlling values.

Below is the second important control offered you, this is for saturation, or the amount of color. Like the slider above, if you push it one way the colors become more intense, push it the other way and they become less colored or grave. This slider doesn't make the colors darker or lighter, just more or less colored.