Friday, June 28, 2013

value and Birge Harrison

Working in only value and making a mood with just a black pastel and an eraser helps me narrow down my intention. Translating it to color has freedom when the preliminary work is in a series of grays.

Recently I have been looking at Birge Harrison's paintings. Birge was first and foremost and amazing colorist. Just look at the beauty of this New York City painting.

Now that color depends on his strong skeleton of value. See what happens when you change the mode to black and white. Mood.

Birge Harrison was a Tonalist. He didn't try to describe a story. Instead he arranged each sensitively chosen color, line and the whole composition to create in intriguing poem. Each painting is built on a solid structure of value.
Here is a quote from his book titled Landscape Painting:
"Personally I am inclined to hold values to be the most important quality in a picture.- and this in spite of the fact that the work must depend for its charm upon the other qualities of color, design and refraction. But a picture that is good in all these respects, being weak and unsound in values, will nevertheless be a poor picture."


Donna T said...

Nice value studies, Loriann, and thanks for mentioning Birge Harrison. I would like to see more of his work. A skeleton of value - what a great way to think of it!

loriann signori said...

Hi Donna,
Buy his book from Amazon. Written in 1909, it is listed as a "forgotten book" and is a serious bargain.

William Cook said...

One could build a whole career out of this simple lesson. Skeleton of value? Sweet. Thanks for the introduction to Harrison. There is so much going on here now that you mention it. Best.

loriann signori said...

Hi William, thanks for commenting!