View Full Version : Post your color/value/whatever practice studies here!

05-04-2015, 01:22 PM
Here is a thread to motivate and provide support for those of us who have been putting off those various practice studies that we know are very helpful. I will detail the studies I am working on and provide an image or two for those who want to do it along with me.

But if you have different goals in mind, feel free to post them with explanations. It’s all good, and we learn from each other.

To keep this thread from being too long and unwieldy, PLEASE POST ONLY IF YOU HAVE A STUDY TO SHOW OR A RESOURCE TO SHARE, OR A QUESTION, and keep comments in those posts.

Here are some suggestions and resources: (be aware that , not surprisingly, some of the resources are also promotions for items they would like you to purchase) . Some kinds of exercises seem as if they are more for “wet” media, but there are often ways to adapt them to dry media. And feel free to skip over this stuff, you may already be knowledgeable about a lot of it.

For composition: notans and 3-value studies.
Notan is a Japanese term referring to the light-dark shapes in a painting or design. The dark and light shapes can lead our eye around the painting in a pleasing way, and notans can be made with quick thumbnails or even with posterizing software. There are lots of composition tips available on WetCanvas ( some links here) (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1320862)YouTube and around the web.

Here is an excellent how-to video on notan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AS9zvjwmUM

Value studies Compositions can also be planned using little quick 3-or4-value studies.article http://blog.mitchalbala.com/composition-before-color-considerations-in-the-first-phases-of-plein-air-painting/

Color and value https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVny7BswdqY

For color studies, harmony, mixing etc:
Gurney’s gamut mask https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfE4E5goEIc

Online gamut mask how-to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfTE3JBQF8

Color mixing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBB7xfwNYIk


review of analogous color wheel you can buy (or make your own fairly easily) http://kemstudios.blogspot.ca/2015/01/my-favorite-color-tool.html This person uses dry media (pastels)

05-04-2015, 01:26 PM
Here are a couple of templates you may find useful.
The 6 color wheels can be printed out on one page, for people like me who don’t have the hours required (or the patience in my case) to fill out larger ones.

The value chart can be printed out, or you can make your own. Optional: punch holes in it to surround what you’re looking at with the value.

05-05-2015, 11:23 AM
Notans and value studies thumbnails:
I have found (surprise, surprise :rolleyes: ) these to be vary helpful to solve composition problems before tackling the actual piece, and wish I had started doing them a long time ago. I'm talking about a few minutes on the back of an envelope, not a long process.
Images on here are from a RIL search using WDE as the keyword. You can use them or not as you please.
The compositions are already pretty good, but photos and nature don't always give us the best choices.
Still life and desaturated version
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-Milk_Glass_Vase_Pears_500x375.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-Milk_Glass_Vase_Pearsbw_500x375.jpg
the notan, black and white pattern as is:
The white shape is mostly in the centre.
A posterized 3-value study: (you could do this with pencil or whatever, small and lsketchy)
So now you can decide to lighten up some of the left side, or crop it, or keep it as is.

05-05-2015, 11:45 AM
Here's a landscape.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-DSC_0229.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-DSC_0229bw.jpg
the notan
You might want to add some light to the bottom dark part, although I find it quite pleasing as is.
3-value study

Here are a few more WDE images you might like to play with. I picked simple ones so there need not be much time spent on drawing.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-03_-_coneflower_2_373x500.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-lands_5_Oct_11_a_Bassenthwaite_Lake_15_.JPG

05-05-2015, 01:01 PM
Here's a WDE photo I took while painting en plein air. I can't remember if I did a thumbnail first, but I did see that big light rectangle sticking up on the diagonal.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-sawmillcreekNB_2.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2015/6393-sawmillcreekNB_2bwnotan.jpg
The notan shows a white blob right in the centre.
I did manage to fix it compositionally, somewhat, although it can be easier to catch in a photo than in real life.
but if I do a studio version I will rearrange things a bit more, maybe change the proportions or format. One possibility:
Here's a value study for the painting I'm working on now. I was putting 2 photos together so spent a little more time on the composition.

Ok! Your turn! I'll make some posts on color in the next few days.
Show us your thumbnails, studies, practice pieces, share your tips!

05-13-2015, 12:17 PM
Wendy, thank you for all your work, this is wonderful information!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Katherine :music: :music:

05-16-2015, 08:31 AM
Wendy, thanks for this great post and all the info. I haven't had a chance to do anything new so I'll just post some of a series I started on last year. I had intended to do many more of these with different color schemes and techniques but I ran out of enthusiasm after 4.
I did start with a sort of notan in charcoal. The rest are gouache - ATC size. I can't size them down on my tablet.


Then trying different colour schemes and techniques.




05-16-2015, 08:38 PM
Wendy, thank you for all your work, this is wonderful information!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Katherine :music: :music:

Thanks, Katherine! I'm doing them for my own learning; if others join in it will help me to stick with it, and if anyone else gets anything out of it, great!

Ros, these are terrific!
I know you are doing the same Strathmore free acrylics workshop, do feel free to post those exercises here, too. I saw your rooster (in fact I correctly picked it out of all the thumbnails:cool: ).
Here is mine. I didn't feel like copying hers, so I used a WDE fellow posted by Li.
And here are my wheels and studies so far. The bottom one is the one I used for the rooster. I should not have picked an autumn scene for the studies I think- too much orange. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-May-2015/6393-color_studies.jpg