Thursday, November 17, 2016

Options for Painting Lights and Darks

In my oil painting class for beginners, we've started to delve into color after working in black and white for a while. This week I did a painting demo for them showing two different ways to lighten and darken an object, in this case an apple, so they could compare the two methods side-by-side.

Apple 1

The first method I showed them was using white to lighten and black to darken the paint. I used titanium white, but I did mix my own black rather then using a tube black. I think the difference between the dark areas of the two paintings would have been more striking if I'd used black from a tube (full disclosure here: I forgot to bring a tube of black). It's been a long time since I used white as my predominant lightener and it felt awkward. I had to really concentrate and fight my now-automatic color choices!

Apple 2

In the second painting I used yellow and orange to lighten the apple and only added white when absolutely necessary. For the dark areas, I used purple and blue. I had planned to use a more white-looking tabletop color, but I accidentally put a streak of that rusty peach color down and we all loved it, so I kept going with it.

While comparing the two paintings side-by-side, the students commented on how much more vibrant Apple 2 was, and they noticed that in Apple 1 the white mixed with alizarin crimson created a pink tone, rather than a sense of light striking the apple. As they were leaving class pondering all these color choices, one student half-jokingly said, "Can't we just go back to black and white? It's so much easier!"

1 comment:

  1. What a great demo, Gabrielle. Seeing is believing!

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