Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lone Tree/ experiments with value/color and mood

12 x12 pastel  on BFK

I am determined to explore mood through this field series. On the bottom is another value painting (similar to November 18th posting) and on top is the color I chose to paint over what now worked as a grisaille.  I lost my focus and expanded my value and color range. It was then that the mood of the grisaille was lost.   I guess that is why the Tonalist paintings have such mood. Limited change in value. Experience, make mistakes and explore that is the path to constant learning.

There is something about color I sometimes can't resist. I will do this composition again and limit my value more.
What is your experience with mood/value/color?


SamArtDog said...

I Value its Mood so much I cannot hold the Color back.

Casey Klahn said...

That's a good question, but I am looking at how well you did on the Rives paper. Hard to stay this subtle and keep the integrity - for me at least with this paper.

Is the drawing as tight as a tonalist desires? I see a larger value range in the B&W- dark to light. The pastel closes the range. Maybe I'm wrong - thanks for showing your process openly, it is challenging me tremendously.

loriann said...

Sam- I totally understand.

Casey, thanks for your insights. I really appreciate the questions.

As far as the rives paper, the spectra fix allows me to go farther. Typically I have only used rives BFK when printmaking...but then I tried it with the value paintings... and who knows what is next?????
Good question about the drawing tightness. I think that aspect will never be me. I can't resist marks and happenstance. It's one of the issues I keep bouncing into when I glaze in oil over a grisaille. Still haven't worked that out yet either. With the B&W I felt that I have 4 shapes of light /dark. some gradation..but shapes..does it look that way to you?
And the learning an exploration continues.

Casey Klahn said...

I look at shapes differently - not trying to be cosmic, here. I connect the darks even if they don't touch - just the way I see things. I see 3 shapes in the grisaille - the dark masses, the middle field and then the sky. I do see fewer in the pastel.

I just got into the studio (the 2nd time in forever) and prepped my Rives BFK paper and did a big abstract with charcoal and other drawing media. What a refreshing session!

All because I saw your wonderful work on the bfk this morning.

loriann said...

Hey Casey...will you post your new big abstract?

I understand how you are seeing the shapes. I looked at them as sky, distant hills/tree, light mass of grass and dark mass of grass.

It's funny when I finished that painting I did not like it. I guess it is because I lost my initial plan and went down a new track. Disappointment in myself as a focused painter. Now, removed from all that emotion I can say... it's ok.
I am so glad that I can inspire you. I take that as a high compliment. You ALWAYS inspire me.

Karen said...

My experience is that color is next to impossible to resist...and gets me into trouble if I'm not cautious (i.e. get the value right) before I put it down. If I don't get the value right, the color is nothing...it end up being weak and decorative, and the painting feels wimpy.

loriann said...

Next to impossible is right Karen. Value is the king or queen however you look at it. Without accuracy of value the painting is dead and gorgeous color will not perform CPR. Richard says, "Value does the work and color gets the glory."

Dale Sherman Blodget said...

Hi Loriann,
I'm studying the two and trying to see what dissatisfies you. Just that you strayed from the exact value relationships of the grisaille? In the color version, I actually see the light blue at the far edge of the field as water, maybe with mist rising. I think I agree (?) that the lone tree in that version may have made you happier if the value was closer to the foreground value. Overall, on my screen the B&W seems lighter, except for the distant hills.
But i love them both. And love to hear what your aim is and see how you work with it.

loriann said...

Good questions Dale. I think I am most dissatisfied by the type of mood.I had a different vision in my head..but once I had the luscious violet down I sealed my fate. My most successful version so far is November 18th. I will continue to explore its possibilities. I will preselect the entire palette next.

SamArtDog said...

Throw this comment into the soup---
I just did a double-take at the thumbnail. In that smaller version, it seemed to all come together. Why?

loriann said...

Sam, what comes together?

Brian McGurgan said...

Great discussion on this painting, Loriann - and both you and Casey are inspiring to me so it's a treat to "hear" you going back and forth like this.

In the value painting, I'm drawn most to the subtle shifts in value in the field, within the tree, and in the distant hills. These read to me as four distinct components: (1) sky, (2) hills and tree, (3) light middle and distant field, and (4) dark foreground field. The range of values seems broader to me than in the color painting, especially in that the lights in the field and sky in the value painting seem higher in value.

With the color painting, the values take a back seat for me to the striking color - especially the rich blues and violets and the way these hues contrast with the local green and earth colors. Here, I think I see the painting in terms of two distinct visual areas: (1) sky and lighter colored field and (2) foreground field and hills with trees. The hue of the sky plus its light value relates it to the green/earth colored part of the field.

I suppose, then, that the focus of the two versions of the painting seems strikingly different to me. The value painting seems about subtle relationships in tone, and I'm more acutely aware of the placement of the trees and my distance to them. My eyes are drawn from the foreground back to the tree and then to the hills in a progressive, steady manner. In the color version, it's the blues and violets that captivate me and set my eyes moving in a circular motion - from tree to foreground blue to the distant hills (my eyes follow the hills in a sweep from right to left, dark to light), then back to the foreground. I love the mood of the value painting, but those blues and violets are really gorgeous, too!

SamArtDog said...

Sorry for the delay; I had to go bag me a turkey...

In the thumbnail, that luscious violet seems to behave its value better and the mood of the grisaille is preserved. I understand it's hard not to get swept away by that gorgeous color and want to let it have its way. I know that's not where you wanted to go, but hey, what a beautiful wrong turn!
I look forward to your continued exploration of this; It's teaching me a lot

Judith Reidy said...

I am very intrigued with this dialogue. I have found that I many of my most sucessessful paintings are tonal in character...monochromatic. For me they are much like drawing, which I have been doing much longer than painting with color. Recently, I have found myself wanting to understand and use color more in my paintings. In my research, I have found different schools of thought regarding the relation between color and value in building a painting. Many emphasize a strong value structure as necessary to the construction of a good painting. Others, deemphasize approaching the construction of a painting from seeing values first and go first to building a painting by using color and temperature.(Henri Henche) I have attempted to begin with a drawing or a monochromatic underpainting, yet find that the addition of colors add a dynamic to the painting that is not entirely understood by me. Colors hues and temperatures effect how the space is read. Color can define an "atmosphere or mood" in the painting in ways that a more monochromatic painting could not. The atmosphere or mood created by the use of color also is more challenging to direct. I assume it is lack of experience. No doubt the value of a color is a factor in creating the correct time of day, but the intensity of the color is a significant factor.

I have come to the conclusion that I have better control of the factors that create a good drawing, whereas I have limited control over the multitude of factors that involve working with color: hue temperature, hue value, hue saturation. Matching a color to a value in the drawing or underderpainting is only part of the challenge. The very colors you select effects the mood of the overall painting. Try making a yellow painting, or a blue painting from the same drawing and you will feel the emotional change just with the change in color emphasis, while keeping the same value structure. I think what you are trying to do and how you are trying to think about what you are doing is GREAT! Keep up the good work!

Judith Reidy said...

I found a useful comparison made between the French Impressionist approach to painting and the American development of Plein Air Painting that would be germain to your interest in the relationship between value and color.
Note the comment by Brian Mahieu in http://www.brianmahieu.com/plein_air.html
"On other days I will use a Tonalist technique where one hue is mixed with every color on the palette. This creates a moody unity to the painting and allows one to focus more intently on the value (light and dark) structure of the painting rather than the spectral hues. "

I thought you might find this comparison thought provoking.