View Full Version : The Other thing I learned this week - Still Life Prep

06-10-2003, 01:23 AM
Remember those longwinded, overexplained lessons I passed onto the group in the spring? Guess who's taking a summer course ;)

I'm taking a still life class in oils. And this seemed rather timely as Jackie threw down the gauntlet to draw some stuff from life instead of pictures.

We didn't get into color. Tonight we only did value studies. And as Jackie will tell you (I think LOL) is that value is probably as important, if not more important, than the colors you use. So let's see what I did.

Here are three different compositions I took from the arrangement we were presented with. Taking a peice of charcoal, we were to draw out the objects (1 vase, 1 bowl, a plate and some apples) in value tones, ranging from 1=white to 5=black. Value tones 2,3 and 4 were progressively darkening shades of grey. Of course, if you're not a charcoal kinda gal or guy, this might seem as boring to you as watching grass grow (or one of my posts :) ), but I found it a really interesting insight about how to approach color. The third one shows my five values.




We drew quick, very simple representations of the subjects, and then used one of the five value shades to block them in. We could tell which value of darkness to use depending on the lightest and darkest values we saw. Then blended everything, so it looked like a total mess. Then we started 'lifting' color with kneaded erasers and added more charcoal to re-establish our darks, and paid attention to the light source on the object.

Everything was from a viewpoint of 'Is this color darker than what's next to it'. The only reason things are light or dark is because of the environment it's in. A yellow lemon is dark against a white sheet. It's light if it's against a black sheet.

So you may not want to do all this, but it is something to keep in mind when you are studying your still life. In short (and I think I'm repeating what you've already heard here) figure your darkest dark and lightest light first, then compare everything else against those two polars. What I learned is that about half the still life should be figured out before the first pastel hits paper.

- Greg

06-10-2003, 05:03 AM
Wow greg thats some good lesson there!
I am in the process of working through Jackies workbook and tones and values are important.....it's something i still have to work on and i have even started a sketch book to help!

06-10-2003, 06:24 AM
I THOROUGHLY approve, (for whatever that is worth!!) Excellent teaching, and I have no doubt you will find it really useful.
At art school, we had to do loads of these.

ps I think you should cross-post this int he still life forum. There are people there who need this information.