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WFMartin
07-30-2006, 11:02 PM
TONES (VALUES), AND THEIR APPLICATION IN THE PAINTING OF FINE ART

WFMartin (Bill)

MY BACKGROUND

Everything we see in our daily lives has three dimensions. We artists—the painters and drawers, at least—are very often called upon to express a three-dimensional subject by placing paint upon canvas in only two dimensions. That is where a knowledge of tones is necessary, and I’m devoting this workshop to the practical knowledge and application of values—the lights, the darks, and everything in between.

I cannot lay claim to as many art credentials as some on this site, but I do have quite an extensive background in related subjects, whose applications quite easily transfer over to the fine arts field. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial education. I taught a graphic arts high school course for one year, after which I entered the lithographic trade, where I quickly gravitated to that of a color separator. In those days the job classification was that of “color cameraman”, and the job was that of photographically separating pieces of art copy and fine art into four printing films, each of which produced a plate for 4-color process printing, using cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks..

I’ve held many fine and priceless works of art in my hands, as a lithographic color cameraman, including an original Renoir, a Durer etching, and a Rubens, as well as various contemporary artists’ works, at various times. Today, most color separating is accomplished by high-end, drum scanners, which analyze color transparencies, thereby creating digital files of images. Shortly before I retired from the litho trade, we discontinued the use of film, and began dealing strictly with digital files, either scanned by us, or with those supplied by clients to us. Today, lithographic plates are made on computerized processors, from digital files. There is literally no more photography as we once knew it, in the trade—and no more film.

I am retired, now, and have been painting for over 20 years. I began painting while still employed, as an escape from my daily work, which required me to do things regarding photo retouching and color correcting that I would never have done as an artist. During my career in color separation, I operated several high end scanners—a Hell, a Crosfield Magnascan, and several Dainippon Screen scanners, as well as performing retouching and color correcting in Photoshop. I’ve sold many paintings, and have displayed, and sold, in a couple of local galleries. This is a link to my website, which contains many examples of oil paintings, watercolors, and a few trompe’ l’oeil wall paintings done in acrylic paint, as well: http://www.wfmartin.com/

I have had two articles published in lithographic trade magazines—coincidentally enough, one on tone control in shooting halftones on a copy camera.

During the 40-some years I worked in the litho trade, I also taught my craft at vocational school level, on and off, as evening classes. And, many years later, I had the good fortune to have taught 4 fall semesters of applied color theory for the lithographic process at Arizona State University. The goal of the course I taught at ASU was the scientific engineering of a 4-color separating system, based upon scientific analysis of the printing process used in the reproduction process. Basically, the concept of my teaching discouraged the usual “cookbook” approach to performing color separations, in favor of performing separations that were more scientifically custom-tuned to match the particular lithographer’s printing capabilities.

I always wanted to immediately put my students at ease with the realization that the knowledge of the behavior of color reproduction was something that anyone could grasp, so every semester at ASU, when I opened the class, I would explain to my students that there truly were only 3 things that one had to “know” or “manipulate”, in order to produce acceptable color separations, capable of being successfully printed on a press, and those three “things” were color correction, tone correction (or placement), and gray balance.

Artists, who paint with oils or watercolors only need to know two of those three things: color, and tone placement. Gray balance is a rather involved function of the printing process, dealing with halftone screening, in conjunction with ink hues, and is not something the average fine artist needs to know.

In dealing with tones in fine art, I like to use the term, “value”, because, by definition, that is one of the actual dimensions of color. Hue, Value, and Chroma are the three dimensions of color, so I prefer to stick with the term, “value” when describing a light, medium, or dark “version” of a subject, or the colors within a subject.

I believe it often helps an artist to get a handle on exactly what it is that we are doing in the creation of any work of two-dimensional art (paintings or drawings). Each time we pick up the tools of our trade—our oil paints, our graphite pencils, our watercolors, we automatically set about to reproduce the values of some “original”, using a medium (oil paint, watercolor, etc.) that may have a completely different value range than our original exhibits.

Stop and ponder, for a minute. We are taking paint, contained in tubes, smearing it on a canvas or board, and expecting to “match”, in appearance, the three-dimensional “thing”, or photo that is in front of us! That is an absolutely incredible concept! Well, often the truth of the matter is, we DON’T match our “original”—but, we DO create the IMPRESSION that we have matched it. And, that impression, if done well, is all we need to have achieved success.

And, a sound knowledge of values is often the key to achieving such success.

We in the litho trade often kidded each other whenever a client would request that we “match” an original, because that is very seldom possible to do. The values represented in a transparency or a work of fine art was invariably always well beyond the scope of our printing process. In our line of work the choice often seemed to be, “Should we literally ‘match’ this questionable looking thing (specifically when furnished with a transparency as our copy), or should we simply make a ‘pretty picture’?”

Our choice was usually “Make a pretty picture”. We, as artists, are faced with such decisions all the time, and the choice for us is nearly always—make a pretty picture, rather than necessarily matching the original in front of us!

THE STUDY OF TONE DENSITY—A TRULY MEASURABLE ITEM

Now I come to the point where artists and lithographic color separators often part ways. The subject of “density” as related to values, is often misunderstood. Or worse yet many artists may not even realize that it exists. It is not necessary to commit this following information to memory, and I, myself, am FAR from being considered a mathematician, but here’s the definition of density as it relates to reflective values. Density is the logarithm of the reciprocal of the reflectance. Whoa!! Enough of that stuff! I don’t need to know THAT to paint a picture! Well, no you don’t, but it’s handy to understand, and who knows whom you may impress with that knowledge in the future?

Density is simply the way to ACCURATELY MEASURE the amount of light reflectance off of a painted (or printed, or drawn) surface. The measurement of density is obtained by using an optical instrument, called a densitometer. The key word here is “accurately”. It is like a yardstick for measuring reflected (or transmitted) light. It is not subject to intuition nor interpretation by the person (artist) making the determination. Nor does it fluctuate from day to day. Let’s say you have a “white” area on a painting or photo, and somewhere else on the same photo there is a gray area that is reflecting only ½ the light that the white area was reflecting. 1 divided by 2 = .50, and .50 is the “reciprocal” of ½. The logarithm of .50 is .30. “Point three oh” is the correct pronunciation of the resulting number, and truly represents ½ of the light that is being reflected from your white area. You cannot calculate a “log” (logarithm), as you would a multiplication or addition problem—you must look it up in a book of tables. Photographers often commit a couple of neutral density filters to memory: .30, and 1.00, because they represent half the light, and one-tenth the light, respectively. Other than that, those logs gotta’ be looked up!

Densities of .30, .60, and .90 each represent ½ of the amount of reflectance of the one preceding it. So, a density of .60 represents ¼ the amount of light that the white area is reflecting. Density, .90 represents 1/8 of the light being reflected off the white area.

I am explaining this because whenever you notice numbers such as these printed alongside a commercial grayscale, they usually represent density, rather than just some arbitrary numbering system. You do NOT need to know this in order to understand the use of densities for creating fine art. “Whew”, you’re saying. I agree. But, to me, who has worked at using and teaching this concept for over 40 years, these numbers are as meaningful as a yardstick, and extrordinarily useful, as well.

I will be using the medium of traditional oil paint for this workshop, because I feel that it most easily exhibits the value attributes that I feel are most easily manipulated and understood for easy control.

Oil painting is probably one of the mediums in which the densities (values) of the originals can, actually, be achieved. I’m not really sure. But, the fact of the matter is, whether we can, or not, makes very little difference. Just as in the lithographic trade, we artists can effectively create the IMPRESSION that we have “matched” the original by some intelligent value manipulation.

So, let’s begin our journey into the study and application of tone values, as it applies to the classical style of oil painting.

I will be adding to this thread, as my workshop continues.......

bjs0704
07-30-2006, 11:08 PM
Great job, Bill! It's such an important subject! I'm looking forward to hearing more!:clap: :clap: :clap:

Barb Solomon:cat:

Nickel
07-30-2006, 11:39 PM
A big thank you Bill for doing this workshop! I am looking forward to
learning.

Nickel

lisilk
07-31-2006, 01:10 AM
Thank you for your time and knowledge Bill!:clap:

Lap3
07-31-2006, 08:46 AM
Bill, I just finished the John Cox workshop and have made some sense of what he presented there. I am seeing the improvements in my work by becoming more aware of the values and intensity of my colors (thank goodness). I am very grateful that you are going to take the time to enlighten us further.

I had a wonderful time looking at your website and would love to absorb any mentoring that you could provide. I really look forward to this workshop.

Cheryl

rosebard
07-31-2006, 09:41 AM
Wow, first John, then now you Bill!!!!

This is so cool and very much appreciated.

THANKS BILL!!!!

WFMartin
07-31-2006, 10:40 AM
Thank you, Everyone.

I really do feel that values are quite important to the creation of the classical style of fine art. The painting of realistic appearing images nearly seems to demand it.

I may have a few different approaches to the subject of tone values, and perhaps once I have offered my suggestions, a few others may see fit to give them a try. There are so many ways in which to approach such a topic, and we all seem to have our own methods. And, they all seem to work.

I'll do my best to explain my methods, while working on the creation of a particular subject that I have selected as an example. This should be a really fun time!:)

I'll be posting my next instruction unit today, just a little later.

Thanks for this opportunity.

Bill

bjs0704
07-31-2006, 10:56 AM
After Bill post his instructions, I'm going to be starting a gallery thread for everybody's version. I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone does!

Barb Solomon:cat:

skintone
07-31-2006, 02:42 PM
This is wonderful information so far. I look forward to the rest. I'm just hoping that my brain will translate it all into better art.

designergigi
07-31-2006, 03:57 PM
Very exciting! I've been interested in this for some time. Count me in!

Thank you for doing this. It's very gracious of you to give us your time.

Gigi

WFMartin
07-31-2006, 06:01 PM
A COMMERCIAL GRAYSCALE

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-Color_Grayscale.jpg

This is an example of a commercially available grayscale. It has many density steps, and those steps are indicated with numbers, which are the densities of the values on the scale. Beneath the density steps are the 6 colors that comprise every color in existence, that can be made by pigment—the three primaries of cyan, magenta, and yellow, and their mixes of red, blue, and green. The little white, triangles taped to it, represent specific value areas that were important to us doing the 4-color separations.

There’s truly not a color in existence that is not one of these colors, or some offshoot of one of them. Brown? Just a very grayed version of red. Chartreuse? Just a slightly dirty, very light version of green. Orange? Just a slightly yellow version of red. I’m sure you get the point.

A DESATURATED (OR “GRAYSCALED”) VERSION OF THE GRAYSCALE

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-Neutral_Grayscale.jpg

Using Photoshop, I have created a desaturated or “grayscaled” version of this same step tablet. It is interesting to notice how the various colors are displayed as a monochromatic version of what had previously been a full-color image. They are not all the same density, with yellow exhibiting a very light density, while blue is represented by a very dark density. The densities of green, cyan, red, magenta, etc., are all scattered between these two extremes. These are known as “actinic densities”, and represent each color’s version of how it would appear, if viewed monochromatically, to white light. It is profoundly handy that this takes place whenever you convert a full-color image to a grayscaled or desaturated image in Photoshop, because that offers you a very precise value configuration, which accurately represents all the colors of your entire reference photo.

The point of the matter is that you are now faced with a medium (oil paint) with which you would like to “match” the values of your original (perhaps a photo). The obvious value limitations of your medium are the darkest value that can be attained by it (perhaps some tube mixture of a black and blue or umber) , and …..white, no matter what the value range of the original scene or photo (or value scale) might be. Out of sheer necessity, your painting will absolutely have to fit within that value range, whatever that may be, simply because your medium has established its own limitation regarding values.

Now that we understand the value limitation of our process—our paints—we must decide how to best reproduce the scene (or photo) before us.

Let’s see how we would approach the painting of a monochrome (single color/gray) photo that we are going to use as a reference. In this instance, we’d like to do our best to reproduce it, without modifying it. But first, we need a suitable reference photo.

CREATING THE REFERENCE PHOTO

The photo I’m using for my reference is one that I obtained from our own reference image library on Wet Canvas, and I have already checked with the owner of the image to be sure that I may use this image freely, without fear of copyright infringement. Her answer was that I can use it. It is a photo of a Butterfly Orchid, and was submitted to the reference image library by bairam. I’m hoping that she will look in on this workshop. I selected this photo for two reasons: First, I am truly eager to paint another flower, since I made such a nice sale with my purple iris at a local show, and second, it is the sort of photo for which a value study will be quite interesting. Values seem to be the most important aspect of this subject, rather than colors. That, alone, makes it a prime example for our study of values.

This is the color photo that I will be using for my reference:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-White_flower_8x10.jpg

In Photoshop, I size and crop the image to the exact proportion of that of my canvas. Since my canvas is 16” x 20”, I made my photo 8” x 10”. After saving, and printing out my color photo on high quality photo paper, I then use the “desaturate” function in Photoshop, creating a gray version, and save that file. I then print this file out, also, on high quality photo paper. I didn’t have to settle for it being perfectly neutral, either. That’s why I use the “desaturate” function in Photoshop, instead of the “grayscale” function. “Desaturate” maintains the image in full color, even though it is gray, thereby allowing me to tweak my Red, Green, and Blue curves to more closely approximate my mix of Ivory Black and Raw Umber paint. By tweaking the curves, I can turn it to a warmer neutral--which is exactly what I did to the photo you see here.

Now, this is my “desaturated” version of this photo:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-White_Flower_Gray.jpg

While I have my image in Photoshop, I also lighten my gray photo, and with my line tool, I grid it in ½” increments. I save this file, also, and print it out on cheap, letter sized paper.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-White_flower_gray_grid.jpg

This grid is 20 units wide, and 16 units high, and will match my 16” x 20” canvas, in its proportions. The image above is my gridded version, printed out on cheap computer paper.

CANVAS PREPARATION

Now that I have my reference printed out as both a full-color photo, and a warm gray photo, please allow me to demonstrate the method that I use to begin nearly every painting that I do. After purchasing an acrylic primed canvas, I first sand it, using 150 grit sandpaper. I then apply a coat of Grumbacher 525 Acrylic Primer. Grumbacher 525 Acrylic Primer comes in a jar, and is nearly as thick as plaster. To make it useable, I thin it with water, until it is about the consistency of thick cream. To do this, I scoop out some with a putty knife, and put it into a separate jar. I then add water, and stir with the putty knife, until it is sufficiently thinned. I apply it with a small, interior trim brush, and after I apply it, I allow it to dry, and then sand again. I repeat this, until I have applied enough coats of acrylic primer so that the weave of the canvas is nearly eliminated. I give it one final sanding, and wipe the dust off with a rag dampened with water.

PREPARING MY DRAWING TO FULL SIZE

Piecing two sheets of 14” x 17” tracing paper together edge to edge, I draw a grid onto this paper, the same exact size as my canvas, and grid it in 1 inch increments. I then transfer my 8” x 10” gridded photo to my tracing paper, by simply drawing that which is evident in each square.

This shows my gridded drawing on tracing paper:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-Tracing_Paper_Grid.jpg

I have applied several coats of acrylic primer to the surface of my store-bought canvas, and have given it a final sanding with 150 grit sandpaper. I removed the remaining dust by using a paper towel, dampened with water. My canvas is ready to accept paint.

PAINTING THE IMPRIMATURA

When it is thoroughly dry, it is now ready to accept paint, and the first oil paint that I apply is an imprimatura. To make this color, I mix equal portions of Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna, with enough Permalba White to make it lighter and fairly opaque. I use a medium whose ingredients are 1 part Stand Oil to 5 parts Turpentine. It is very thin, and very lean (more solvent than oil). An imprimatura accomplishes two things: it provides a nice tone, so I don’t have to begin working on a stark, white canvas. It also sizes the surface of the acrylic priming so that my next application of oil paint does not absorb into the acrylic surface.

This is the appearance of my imprimatura:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-Imprimatura.jpg

I apply my paint mixture, using medium and a 3/4 inch soft, sable (or sable imitation) brush. When I have applied all the paint that I have mixed on my palette, I then take a 1" soft, sable brush, and go over the entire canvas, using criss-cross strokes in a "whisking" or beating fashion, to totally eliminate brush strokes and brush marks left in by my paint application. A smooth surface after each painting session of these first few layers is our goal. Impasto is fine for the more final layers, but for these beginning underpainting layers, smoothness is the key, both in appearance, and in actual paint texture.

TRANSFERRING THE DRAWING

We are now ready to transfer the sketched image to the surface of the imprimatura. To do this, I apply soft, vine charcoal to the BACK of the tracing paper containing my drawn, pencil image. I lay it on a light background, so I can see the lines of my drawing through the tracing paper. I cover with charcoal, only those areas where my lines are showing, to conserve charcoal, and help to eliminate a mess.

This is the back of my tracing paper drawing:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2006/13079-Charcoal_Backside.jpg

*Since I don't want this post to be oversize, I'll end the demonstration here for the day, and pick up the demo later, with a further post tomorrow.

I'm sure many of you can see the direction this is taking, already, and are getting a bit of an idea regarding my methods.

Please stick with me; the really fun part hasn't started, yet!;)

Bill

idcrisis55
08-01-2006, 11:27 AM
I read about this workshop in the Oils Forum. I am really excited about what you are doing and appreciate it so much! Thanks :).

Ann

Granby
08-01-2006, 12:48 PM
Hooray, I'm ready for this one. Mr. Martin - I have a drawing of my toddlers two favorite stuffed animals I am going to paint for my kids that is all ready to go, Canvas is gessoed and toned, waiting for it to dry to transfer the drawing. Would you recommend something more smooth and glossy (like a flower) for us to get the most out of this lesson?

WFMartin
08-01-2006, 01:03 PM
Hooray, I'm ready for this one. Mr. Martin - I have a drawing of my toddlers two favorite stuffed animals I am going to paint for my kids that is all ready to go, Canvas is gessoed and toned, waiting for it to dry to transfer the drawing. Would you recommend something more smooth and glossy (like a flower) for us to get the most out of this lesson?

The study and applications of values lends itself to nearly any subject, and so does the use of a grisaille underpainting for the purpose of glazing colors over it.

I would think that your stuffed animal subject would be just fine for a project such as this.:thumbsup:

Bill

Annapurna
08-01-2006, 06:21 PM
I'm in, and I'm excited about this workshop thank you Bill. This means so much to find this site of generous teachers and contributors... cannot express how wonderful for me, living far from a school. I'm commissioned to do two portraits, first time, and I know this will help me feel calmer. I use the grayscale, being a commercial artist in another incarnation 40 years ago, but now the desaturate...oh my, more than a learning curve I'm feeling like I've just begun ascending the Matterhorn. Lalala! Up we go.

Annapurna

WFMartin
08-01-2006, 11:27 PM
I'm in, and I'm excited about this workshop thank you Bill. This means so much to find this site of generous teachers and contributors... cannot express how wonderful for me, living far from a school. I'm commissioned to do two portraits, first time, and I know this will help me feel calmer. I use the grayscale, being a commercial artist in another incarnation 40 years ago, but now the desaturate...oh my, more than a learning curve I'm feeling like I've just begun ascending the Matterhorn. Lalala! Up we go.

Annapurna

Annapurna,

Yes......the "desaturate" function in Photoshop does allow more freedom than the usual "grayscale" function, found under "modes". The "grayscale" function turns the image into a one-channel, neutral image, similar to a black-and-white halftone in the printing trade. However, the "desaturate" function, under "image" (I believe), turns your color file neutral, BUT it keeps the file a 3-color (RGB) file. This allows one to slightly vary the curves to achieve a warmer or cooler version of your "gray" image.

I find it very handy, for creating reference photos for grisaille underpaintings. For example, if you found you prefer more of a verdaccio underpainting (greenish cast), you could establish (and write down) a standard set of curves that would produce a "greenish-gray" that would closely match your paint mix. Then you would desaturate your color image, and install those same curves each time. In fact, in Photoshop, a favorite set of curves can actually be saved, and then you can call it up any time you wish.

Bill

WFMartin
08-02-2006, 01:48 AM
Well, I'm going to try to get on with this workshop as "seamlessly" as possible. I believe I left off after having applied soft, vine charcoal to the back of my tracing paper, which has the full-sized image drawn on the front.

After having applied the charcoal to the back of my paper, I do the following:

I then flip the drawing right-side up, and tape it in position on my dried, imprimatura surface. NOTE: If your imprimatura has been allowed to dry more than a few days after being touch-dry, the charcoal will not transfer well. To provide a more friendly surface for the transferring of your charcoal, lightly wipe the surface of your imprimatura with a little turpentine. That will soften the surface enough to allow effective transfer of your charcoal.

With my drawing taped to my canvas, I draw over the existing lines of my drawing, using a ballpoint pen. I lift a corner, for a peek, to see if it is effectively transferring. I then continue with the ballpoint pen, until I have covered each line of my entire drawn image.

This is me, using my ballpoint for transferring the image:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Aug-2006/13079-Using_Ballpoint.jpg

I remove the tape and my tracing paper drawing, and with a soft, dry brush, remove the excess charcoal powder by lightly brushing it. Or I use a paper towel to remove the excess charcoal. You will find the lines to be amazingly permanent, and easy to see.

Here is the appearance of my transferred drawing. It is in charcoal, so it puts at ease those who claim that graphite (lead pencil) migrates, or somehow insidiously “wiggles” it way through paint layers to appear visible in your painting, years in the future.
Personally, I don’t believe that urban legend, and have NEVER had it happen to any painting—even those that are now 20 years old, even when I drew my grid right on the canvas, but this charcoal method is one sure way to sleep well at night, just in case those worry-warts may be right! I don’t believe in tempting fate, if it’s truly easy to accommodate the supposed condition, by simply using another approach. I find that nearly everyone agrees with the application of charcoal.

My transferred drawing:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Aug-2006/13079-Imprimatura_Charcoal_Transf.jpg

Before we begin painting an image on the canvas, I’d like to offer a few concepts that I have observed. This workshop involves the study and application of values, and I am one who truly feels that the proper placement of values within a painting are probably more important than that of color. I admit to being a “tonalist”. Why do you suppose that a good black and white photograph can pull down all sorts of prizes at a photography exhibit? And, I have found that quite often a neutral (a grisaille/gray) underpainting can often receive numerous accolades, before even painting any color glaze layers upon it. These indicate to me that the proper application of values within a two-dimensional work of art is quite important.

DETERMINING THE PLACEMENT OF THE MIDDLE VALUE

Now, comes the fun part, and the body of this workshop—that of getting our paint to the canvas to form a believable, realistic image. VALUES…..here we come!

Those of us, such as I, whose vocations have been that of putting values in their proper places within images, for so many years, have learned one very important concept. That is that one does not effectively make images lighter or darker by darkening or lightening the two extreme limits of the value scale —the two ends of the gray scale or photo (the white and the dark)-- but by the careful and intelligent distribution of ALL THE OTHER VALUES LYING BETWEEN those two limits. The lightness or darkness of our reproduced or painted picture almost totally depends upon how we distribute the infinite number of values (and they ARE nearly infinite) BETWEEN the two end values or densities.

Since we already know the lightest limitation of our process—the white paint that we’ll be using, and the darkest limitation of our process—the mix of black with perhaps an umber, blue, green, or red, we simply need establish the location of our middle value within the reference photo. Most of us simply eyeball this, and begin to paint away. Sometimes we miss our mark, thereby producing a darker-than-normal painting. Sometimes we miss our mark in the other direction, producing a lighter-than-normal painting.

But, if accuracy is your goal, there is a little better way of figuring where your middle tone should be located.

The middletone or middle value is generally considered to be the .65 density step. Just because lithographic color separators have determined that, or perhaps thought of it first, rather than fine artists, does not mean that the concept is not valid for the fine artist. It just means that it may be a new approach for fine artists to try out, and one with which we are not familiar.

Because the lithographic trade has become totally digital, for the most part, these “old fashioned”, handy, reflective grayscales are pretty difficult to find, today. To obtain one, you could either try going to a local printer, and seeing if you could talk them out of their last hanger-on. And, there’s truly nothing wrong with making your own out of paint, or designing and printing one out of your digital printer, using photo paper, as long as you can possibly impose upon your nearest lithographer or graphic design school, who may own a reflection densitometer, to take accurate density readings of the steps that you have created. By doing that, your prepared grayscale becomes a true measuring instrument, and not just an art exercise. I found a couple of sources on the internet by Googling “tone scales”, I believe. Some places still sell them. I believe DuPont quit making theirs, but I see evidence of Kodak reflective grayscales (I believe they’re called “Q-13”, or something similar) still on the internet, but I could get no pictures of it—only prices.

If you ever decide to order one from a supplier, be sure that you order a "reflective" or "reflection" grayscale, because you do NOT want a "transmission" or a "transparent" step tablet, as the transparent ones are for dealing with transparencies (slides).

As I said, most of us wing it, when it comes to accurately placing the middle tone or value in a painting, but there’s also a way that eliminates much of the guesswork. We need to determine where the .65 density value is located within our reference photo. It is pretty difficult to do that by moving the grayscale ‘round and ‘round, over the reference photo, and finding the area on the photo that matches the value of the .65 middle value of the commercial grayscale.

Here is the grayscaled, neutral version of my color photo, with a grayscale lying next to it:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Aug-2006/13079-Photo_Grayscale.jpg

This process is made more simple, by using what we call a “spotter”. A spotter is a neutral disk or square of paper with a small hole punched in its center. We place one spotter over the density of the grayscale that represents the “target” value we are seeking—in this case, the .65 density step, while we move the other spotter around over the surface of the reference photo. We move this photo spotter around, until we find the density on the photo that matches the target density of our grayscale. Be sure that the target area and the photo are both illuminated by the same intensity of illumination.

Now, I can let you in on a “secret” of which even many lithographic separators are not aware. That is the concept of using a black “spotter” for judging middle to dark, shadow values, and use a white “spotter” for judging light values. The spotter must be neutral, but simple “neutrality” is not the only criterion. It is obvious that using a black spotter for trying to judge near-white, lighter values would cause the slight differences to be overwhelmed by the extraordinarily dark surround of the spotter, causing the light values to actually appear the same, when they may not be. And the same is true of trying to use a white spotter for judging dark values—they all appear the same, when, in fact, they may not be.

I believe it important to mention here that I am NOT an advocate for the creating of one’s own step tablet by laboriously painting one using self-concocted mixes. There are several reasons for this. First, I feel that the chances of squeezing out exact amounts of paint with the idea that one can miraculously mix “equal” or otherwise specific quantities of paints, consistently, is simply not plausible, at all. Every time you try this, your results are bound to be SOMEWHAT different, and that seems to invalidate the reason for using a grayscale in the first place—using it as a standard. Also, once you have created, through mixing, a series of steps, what actual values they may be, in terms of measurable densities, is simply up for grabs, and that renders it nearly useless. The assumption that equal parts of white and your color will automatically create some appropriate middle value is quite unfounded. Those resulting densities can certainly be measured with an instrument called a reflective densitometer, but few artists own one. I find that for some reason, many artists seem to be programmed to the concept of a “10-step”, hand-made value scale. While 10 steps is fine, the actual values which occur between the white and the dark is nearly infinite. And, the reference to a “step 5” of a hand-made value scale means absolutely nothing to me (or anyone else, although they may believe it to be so), simply because of all the mixing variables involved, whereas a density of .60 or .30 has an absolute and quantifiable value, as well as being capable of being communicated to others, time after time, and day after day, from person to person, as well as throughout the world.

Now, the lightest area of your painting can be a pure white or a mixture of white and just a touch of your dark paint, just to take the brilliance off your pure white. That automatically becomes your highlight “limit.” A mix of Ivory Black and perhaps an equal amount of Raw Umber is your dark “limit.” With your spotter, you have already established your middle value.

Here is a sample of the use of the spotters. In this case, I’m using a black spotter in order to locate the middle value on an area of the reference photo, by comparing it with the targeted area (the .65 density step) of the grayscale.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Aug-2006/13079-Photo_Grayscale_spotters.jpg

Here is my neutral, reference photo, indicating the areas I have selected for highlight values, middle values, and shadow values:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_Gray_HMS.jpg

From here on, it’s a fairly simple task to mix up the remaining values that occur between these three values, and to place them reasonably correctly on the canvas. There really is no need for the drudgery of creating hand-made value scales, except for the possible reason of simply learning how to mix two or three paints together. Most folks seem to get the hang of that in a couple of minutes, though, and it’s a lot more productive to apply your results to the painting of a subject after you have mixed it, than to some sort of step tablet.

I have, indeed, discovered that proper values in a painting are one sure way of achieving a reasonable degree of success.


CREATING THE GRISAILLE UNDERPAINTING

It’s time to paint!

With these three value locations established, on your reference photo, place a smear of paint of each one of these values in their proper location on the canvas. Mix enough white with your dark combination to achieve the .65 density. Keep checking your mix by comparing a smear of it on a piece of paper against the .65 step on your grayscale. There are probably several areas on your reference photo which are, in fact, a middle value, as judged by our commercial grayscale, so mix up a small batch of middle-value paint, and place a dab on your painting, wherever they exist.

On your painting, also locate an area (or areas) that you judge to be the whitest, and another area (or areas) that you judge to be the darkest, as represented by your neutral reference photo.

As I have mentioned, one very sound method of beginning any oil painting is to begin with a grisaille underpainting. Pronounced, griz-eye’, a grisaille is simply a fancy French word, meaning gray. Often it is appropriate to mix up a “gray” that is a bit warmer in its hue than simply using a neutral black or gray might provide. I do that by mixing Ivory Black and Raw Umber.

The concept of painting a grisaille underpainting is so we can be able to deal with values, as a separate function from that of color. The grisaille underpainting can be as loose or as precise as you wish it to be. I find that the more precise I create my grisaille, the easier it is to apply glazes of color over it. In fact, I often state that when a grisaille underpainting has been done very precisely and carefully, the rest of the painting of color practically paints itself. A grisaille can be considered a bit of a “tone map”, for the purpose of establishing the tones of a painting, before applying color. It is also a quite wonderful, practical, and productive way to deal with values, in the painting of a picture.

To do this, I use roughly equal parts of Ivory Black and Raw Umber. I mix a pile of that on my palette, with my palette knife. I also place a blob of Permalba White on my palette for creating the tones of my grisaille.

I now try to mix the correct proportions of my dark mix and Permalba White together to produce a value which will match, as closely as possible, the .65 density step on my grayscale. I do this by simply eyeballing it, mixing, checking, and mixing again. This is comparatively easy, because I’m not dealing with color here—only values. That makes life a lot easier, in my opinion.

It took me 4 or 5 attempts, before I produced a value that I feel is pretty close to matching the .65 density step. And, when I have finally achieved it, I then place a smear of my highlight (pure white paint, or very lightly 'toned'), my middle value (that which I just mixed from my dark and white), and my shadow, or dark value (represented by equal parts of Ivory Black and Raw Umber) in their appropriate locations on my canvas.

Here is the results of that procedure:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2006/13079-Painting_HMS.jpg

Well, since it is getting to be a bit late in the evening here, I'll wrap this up for the day, and will be back in a day or so, to demonstrate the further steps on creating this grisaille underpainting, using appropriate values. From here on, I'm sort of doing this in "real time", and am barely keeping ahead of this thread with my actual painting. We're experiencing some higher humidity here, now, in Arizona, and my drying times are longer than usual. My layer will normally dry to the touch overnight, but lately, it's taking closer to 2 days, so that may slow down my posting. However, I am a bit ahead of it, yet, and will try to remain prompt in my posting.

You may be surprised at the future appearance of this scruffy looking painting, after a couple of further painting sessions. I'm not sure, I don't imagine that Ingres painted his famous grisaille work, "Odalisque" in an hour and half, or by using a 3" bristle brush, and neither will we. But, with the time we will invest upon this, we should hope to have created an image of which we should all be proud to term a "classical" piece of art.

Hey, thanks for following along, everyone. More to come.:)

Bill

stoney
08-02-2006, 10:54 AM
[/quote]
Because the lithographic trade has become totally digital, for the most part, these “old fashioned”, handy, reflective grayscales are pretty difficult to find, today. To obtain one, you could either try going to a local printer, and seeing if you could talk them out of their last hanger-on. And, there’s truly nothing wrong with making your own out of paint, or designing and printing one out of your digital printer, using photo paper, as long as you can possibly impose upon your nearest lithographer or graphic design school, who may own a reflection densitometer, to take accurate density readings of the steps that you have created. By doing that, your prepared grayscale becomes a true measuring instrument, and not just an art exercise. I found a couple of sources on the internet by Googling “tone scales”, I believe. Some places still sell them. I believe DuPont quit making theirs, but I see evidence of Kodak reflective grayscales (I believe they’re called “Q-13”, or something similar) still on the internet, but I could get no pictures of it—only prices.

If you ever decide to order one from a supplier, be sure that you order a "reflective" or "reflection" grayscale, because you do NOT want a "transmission" or a "transparent" step tablet, as the transparent ones are for dealing with transparencies (slides).
[/quote]

You mean this?

The ST-24 on page 2
http://www.appliedimagegroup.biz/aig-imaging/PDF/GrayScales-DensityWedges.PDF

WFMartin
08-02-2006, 07:31 PM
Because the lithographic trade has become totally digital, for the most part, these “old fashioned”, handy, reflective grayscales are pretty difficult to find, today. To obtain one, you could either try going to a local printer, and seeing if you could talk them out of their last hanger-on. And, there’s truly nothing wrong with making your own out of paint, or designing and printing one out of your digital printer, using photo paper, as long as you can possibly impose upon your nearest lithographer or graphic design school, who may own a reflection densitometer, to take accurate density readings of the steps that you have created. By doing that, your prepared grayscale becomes a true measuring instrument, and not just an art exercise. I found a couple of sources on the internet by Googling “tone scales”, I believe. Some places still sell them. I believe DuPont quit making theirs, but I see evidence of Kodak reflective grayscales (I believe they’re called “Q-13”, or something similar) still on the internet, but I could get no pictures of it—only prices.

If you ever decide to order one from a supplier, be sure that you order a "reflective" or "reflection" grayscale, because you do NOT want a "transmission" or a "transparent" step tablet, as the transparent ones are for dealing with transparencies (slides).
[/quote]

You mean this?

The ST-24 on page 2
http://www.appliedimagegroup.biz/aig-imaging/PDF/GrayScales-DensityWedges.PDF[/QUOTE]

Stoney,

YEP, you struck pay dirt! That's exactly to what I'm referring. I actually like the ST-23 model (the one just before the ST-24 model). It has more steps, all nicely calibrated (density values indicated), including a .65 density step, which is quite useful.

The ST-24 model is nice because of the holes punched in them for determining densities on the reference photo.

Either one of these (in a reflective version) would be nice to have.

Thanks for that link! I wasn't fortunate enough to have found anything with photo examples on Google.:thumbsup:

Bill

bjs0704
08-02-2006, 08:16 PM
Hi Everybody!

I just put up a gallery thread for everyone to post their work based on Bill's lessons! I can't wait to see your work! :wave:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4850048#post4850048

Barb Solomon:cat:

WFMartin
08-02-2006, 11:54 PM
Well, here's enough to get you into your "painting mode", I hope.

I have just applied three values of paint to my canvas, placing them approximately where they belong, using the extreme two limits of my painting medium as highlight values and shadow (dark) values, respectively. I determined the middle value, based upon the .65 density step of my grayscale standard.

Of course, this stage (having applied only three values to select areas) represents only a fleeting moment in the process of creating this grisaille, because as soon as these values have been placed, I immediately begin filling in the rest of the areas of the painting, each with its proper values of my Black/Umber mix. In doing this, I leave an untouched blob of middle value paint on my palette, in case I need to mix some more. This is my target value, and makes it a bit easier to mix further batches, without having to keep referring to the .65 step of my grayscale.

The rest of this tone painting is accomplished by examining the gray reference photo, and splitting differences between the highlight, middle value, and shadow (dark) areas I have already mixed on my palette, and painted onto my canvas.
This is the beginning of my grisaille:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2006/13079-Grisaille_Begin_01.jpg

We may feel free to take as long as we need, in order to accomplish this grisaille underpainting. This is not a timed contest. I don’t believe the old masters judged their final works by how quickly they could get them completed. Neither will I. Nor are we limited to the number of sessions nor to the number of layers it takes to get the grisaille to look like the exact thing we are trying to match. When we encounter a difficult passage within our painting, we should not allow ourselves the “cop out” luxury of claiming that we will allow it to appear this way for the rationalization of appearing “more painterly” in the final work. That’s just not the “cowboy way”, nor does it tend to command any particular appeal for those who appreciate more classical, realistic work. We should make each subject appear as we wish it to, and not settle for anything less. Some may feel disappointed that our first effort at applying our grisaille paint has not seemed to completely cover the imprimatura. I consider that insufficient coverage to be quite normal, and I consider the number of coats I must roller onto a wall of my house, in order to cover the underlying paint—especially if I’m applying a finish coat that is lighter in value than the underlying coat. It often takes me two or three layers to complete my grisaille underpainting, to the extent that it has effectively obscured the imprimatura beneath it.

This is the appearance of my first layer of my grisaille underpainting. Notice that the target values have not been exactly achieved. There is still evidence of the imprimatura showing through. But, those things are fine, because we are not finished with it. After this first effort dries, we will establish our targeted areas more accurately, and the imprimatura will be covered more completely. You may also notice that near the top of the painting, I have made one of those dark tendrils to pass more behind the white petal of the topmost flower. This was NOT a "cop-out" on my part, even though the reference photo did not display it this way. I did this on purpose, to achieve just a tad more depth to my painting, and mainly to eliminate the "kiss fit" that the tendril was formerly creating with the petal in front of it, as represented in the reference photo. Now I have established more precise planes for both the tendril AND for the flower petal in front of it.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_1st_grisaille.jpg

To me, as rough and scraggly-appearing as this painting might appear at this stage, it is the source of pure enjoyment and excitement. I have completely covered a heretofore flat, comparatively blank canvas with an entire image, and from now on it simply gets better and better with each painting session.

I am fairly able to look at this canvas, and "see" its future possibilities. For example, one item that is going to be quite important to the success of this painting is the little butterfly-shaped gizmos in the middle of each flower. There will be very little latitude for excuses and rationalization regarding our failure to depict them in their actual shapes, because they are probably going to be the center of interest of this subject, and will be judged by orchid-lovers as being "authentic" or not, by whether we have created a reasonable representaton of those little center parts. So, that simply means that we must slow our production down just a bit, from the painting of the background and petals, which are fairly straightforward, and pick up a couple of smaller brushes (I use a #4 and a #2 filbert) and devote some careful time and examination of the reference photo in painting those little "centers".

Shapes, tones, gradations of those tones, are some of the items we're trying to achieve on these center flower portions.

This layer needs to dry, and then we go back with another layer of grisaille, this time paying closer attention to further details, and comparing values against other, surrounding values carefully, and painting them the way they appear on the reference photo.

This is the stage at which I can hardly wait for my previous layer to dry so that I can get to the painting of the next layer. Because I am aware of the future results, however, I can easily withstand the temptation to begin too soon, and I simply try to enjoy the "wait" by peering at my painting in its present stage, while I make mental plans regarding those items that to be given the most attention during the next session.

In this case, the centers of the flowers are one item, and the many, interesting tendrils spilling out of the pot in the lower, right are another.

Tweaking the value of the background in the right, and upper right to achieve a more accurate value for our middle value is another consideration.

It is going to be quite enjoyable painting the smooth, flowing values of the petals, and here's where a careful comparison of the very subtle, contrasting values is so very important. It is values that give any two-dimensional medium the appearance of being 3-dimensional. These flower petals abound with beautiful, soft, subtle values, all which contribute to the eventual shapes and modeling of the petals. It is up to us to put them all in as best we can for the most realistic appearance possible.

WE can DO it! Can you tell I love this job??:) :thumbsup:

See ya' all later!

Bill



More coming.

artbyjune
08-03-2006, 02:55 PM
The classical forum is jumping with ideas and demos!!

This is an intriguing workshop, Bill. Many thanks for doing it. You've chosen a lovely image for the demonstration. I will follow along with your process and hope I find a bit of time soon to try some work with the grisaille method.

stoney
08-03-2006, 04:05 PM
Because the lithographic trade has become totally digital, for the most part, these “old fashioned”, handy, reflective grayscales are pretty difficult to find, today. To obtain one, you could either try going to a local printer, and seeing if you could talk them out of their last hanger-on. And, there’s truly nothing wrong with making your own out of paint, or designing and printing one out of your digital printer, using photo paper, as long as you can possibly impose upon your nearest lithographer or graphic design school, who may own a reflection densitometer, to take accurate density readings of the steps that you have created. By doing that, your prepared grayscale becomes a true measuring instrument, and not just an art exercise. I found a couple of sources on the internet by Googling “tone scales”, I believe. Some places still sell them. I believe DuPont quit making theirs, but I see evidence of Kodak reflective grayscales (I believe they’re called “Q-13”, or something similar) still on the internet, but I could get no pictures of it—only prices.

If you ever decide to order one from a supplier, be sure that you order a "reflective" or "reflection" grayscale, because you do NOT want a "transmission" or a "transparent" step tablet, as the transparent ones are for dealing with transparencies (slides).


You mean this?

The ST-24 on page 2
http://www.appliedimagegroup.biz/aig-imaging/PDF/GrayScales-DensityWedges.PDF[/QUOTE]

Stoney,

YEP, you struck pay dirt! That's exactly to what I'm referring. I actually like the ST-23 model (the one just before the ST-24 model). It has more steps, all nicely calibrated (density values indicated), including a .65 density step, which is quite useful.

The ST-24 model is nice because of the holes punched in them for determining densities on the reference photo.

Either one of these (in a reflective version) would be nice to have.

Thanks for that link! I wasn't fortunate enough to have found anything with photo examples on Google.:thumbsup:

Bill[/QUOTE]

You're more than welcome. I had indicated the '24' because of the holes. Guess I don't understand the term 'reflective,' as you're using it. Neither, as they are, are useful?

WFMartin
08-03-2006, 07:36 PM
You mean this?

The ST-24 on page 2
http://www.appliedimagegroup.biz/aig-imaging/PDF/GrayScales-DensityWedges.PDF

Stoney,

YEP, you struck pay dirt! That's exactly to what I'm referring. I actually like the ST-23 model (the one just before the ST-24 model). It has more steps, all nicely calibrated (density values indicated), including a .65 density step, which is quite useful.

The ST-24 model is nice because of the holes punched in them for determining densities on the reference photo.

Either one of these (in a reflective version) would be nice to have.

Thanks for that link! I wasn't fortunate enough to have found anything with photo examples on Google.:thumbsup:

Bill[/QUOTE]

You're more than welcome. I had indicated the '24' because of the holes. Guess I don't understand the term 'reflective,' as you're using it. Neither, as they are, are useful?[/QUOTE]


Stoney,

I just reviewed that site again, and have discovered the #24 is, indeed, a reflective scale. It initially looked to me as though #23 was available as either a transparent or reflective version. However, it appears that, even though they quote "reflective range" as well as "tranaparent range", it is actually only available as a transparent scale. (I don't quite understand why they bother to mention a "reflective range" regarding #23, when it only seems to be available as a transmission scale, but they do.

I'm sure your and my definitions of "reflective" and "transmission" are the same. Reflective represents a material such as photo paper, off which the light bounces, or is reflected. Transparent is a material such as a see-through film, similar to a slide, through which light travels on its way to the eye or measuring device.

Density scales are generally available in both forms, and I wanted to be sure that for doing paintings, no one mistakenly ordered a transparent version, because it would be of no use for that application.

Bill

stoney
08-04-2006, 10:55 AM
Thanks for that link! I wasn't fortunate enough to have found anything with photo examples on Google.:thumbsup:

Bill[/QUOTE]

You're more than welcome. I had indicated the '24' because of the holes. Guess I don't understand the term 'reflective,' as you're using it. Neither, as they are, are useful?[/QUOTE]


Stoney,

I just reviewed that site again, and have discovered the #24 is, indeed, a reflective scale. It initially looked to me as though #23 was available as either a transparent or reflective version. However, it appears that, even though they quote "reflective range" as well as "tranaparent range", it is actually only available as a transparent scale. (I don't quite understand why they bother to mention a "reflective range" regarding #23, when it only seems to be available as a transmission scale, but they do.

I'm sure your and my definitions of "reflective" and "transmission" are the same. Reflective represents a material such as photo paper, off which the light bounces, or is reflected. Transparent is a material such as a see-through film, similar to a slide, through which light travels on its way to the eye or measuring device.

Density scales are generally available in both forms, and I wanted to be sure that for doing paintings, no one mistakenly ordered a transparent version, because it would be of no use for that application.

Bill[/QUOTE]

Our definitions agree. There are times when a trade utilizes common terms in a specialized manner. I can see how it would be a good aid for me and I'll probably order one.

Rosic
08-04-2006, 11:28 AM
Bill... I was on vacation... got back and stumbled across this workshop... AWESOME... couldn't have a better artist teach it IMHO...
Bern

WFMartin
08-04-2006, 01:53 PM
Bill... I was on vacation... got back and stumbled across this workshop... AWESOME... couldn't have a better artist teach it IMHO...
Bern

Thanks, Bernie! I always appreciate your comments.

Bill

WFMartin
08-04-2006, 03:00 PM
SECOND LAYER OF THE GRISAILLE

Once we have gotten paint over the entire canvas in the form of a grisaille, we can now continue to refine and to re-establish certain areas. The painting of a grisaille such as this requires a bit of blending. “Blending” is only a dirty word in the vocabulary of those who prefer the alla prima approach. Their concept is generally to place a stroke of paint on the canvas, and then leave it alone. That certainly works for some, but I find that I rather prefer the smooth, seamless appearance that blending offers, and I truly don’t care much for the “carved granite” appearance that is so often inherent in the “put it, and leave it alone” philosophy.

It is all a matter of personal preference, though, and I am not here to talk anyone into my way of painting, but only to offer examples of my results, and to demonstrate the way in which I achieve it.

Blending does not always need to be thought of as a separate “function”, requiring separate and special brushes to perform it. Much of my blending is done with the very brush with which I applied the paint. Blending can be accomplished with quite a small brush, as well as by using a mop brush, fan brush, bunny brush, badger blender, etc. Every brush is a “blender” if used in a manner that lends itself to blending.

One way to achieve blending is to apply the paint, covering a small area in a relatively uniform manner, and then using the very tip of the same, wet brush (often, a comparatively small one, such as a #2 or #4 round), using very rapid back-and-forth, whisking or “flicking” strokes, seamlessly blend your brush stroke into the tone of the previous layer or adjoining painted passage. When I say “rapid” strokes, I truly mean rapid! This is one of those items that is impossible to explain with words, or even still pictures. To do this, I support my hand on a mahl stick, and hold the brush like a small pendulum, whisking it so rapidly back-and-forth, that it is but a blur, to anyone watching the process.

I don’t know of any other way that would be as effective in achieving the extraordinarily subtle tone shifts and modulations such as those occurring in the petals of these flowers, but by the method I just described. I usually think of this sort of painting as almost a form of retouching, and I keep in mind those folks who, using Q-tips, used to do hand-coloring of sepia photographs. That was a long time ago, but the techniques are still applicable today. They applied staining materials, rather than opaque paint, but they approached it in a similar way to the blending of paint on a canvas—slowly and meticulously, rather than employing any slapdash methods.

Here is an example of my latest effort in painting my grisaille of this beautiful orchid:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_2nd_Grisaille.jpg


ILLUMINATION OF THE WORK AREA

In conjunction with tones and values, it might be interesting to note the importance of illumination, in regard to the workspace in which one does his painting. We tend to paint what we see, and how we see it, under the illumination that is available. Often, when our painting is later exhibited in some other sort of display or gallery environment, it seems to lack the impact that it offered, when on our easel, and this is often disappointing.

In general, we tend to paint exactly the opposite to that of our illumination. Let me explain that statement. If we do our painting under an extremely bright light, we subconsciously tend to “accommodate” for this extraordinarily bright condition by making our painting a bit darker in value. The results are obvious, when later this painting is viewed in a gallery situation—it looks dark! The opposite is true, if we find ourselves painting under too dark an illumination. Our paintings then appear to be extraordinarily light, when viewed under gallery conditions.

If we paint under too “warm” an illumination, our work will appear too “cold”, when viewed elsewhere, and if we paint, using too “cool” an illumination, our work appears quite “warm”, when viewed away from our studio.

This is important to note whenever we begin to witness a “trend” in our work, with it being too light, too dark, too warm, or too cool in its appearance, when viewed away from our easel, and the remedy is to adjust our studio illumination in the same direction as our work appears to be biased. If our work shows a trend at being too dark, we need to adjust our working illumination so that it has a little less illumination. This automatically forces us to paint a bit lighter. If our work appears too warm, when viewed out of our studio, then we need to adjust our working illumination to be a bit warmer, as this automatically forces us to paint a bit cooler.

LIGHTENING OR DARKENING OUR SUBJECT

We have already discussed how to use a .65 density step as a target for finding, and painting the middle vale of our painting. But, every so often it is desirable to make our painting a bit lighter or darker than that which would be considered to be “normal’.

To do this, we select as a middle value, one that is slightly lighter or darker on the grayscale, rather than the .65 density step. In practicality, we would select the same area on our photo as we did for the .65 step, but instead we will place a lighter or darker density of paint in that area.

To demonstrate this effect, let’s once again take a look at our “normal” grayscale:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2006/13079-Color_Grayscale.jpg

Now, let’s see how this same grayscale would appear if we should lighten the middle value step:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2006/13079-Color_Grayscale_Light.jpg

Notice how the dark steps of the grayscale have actually gained in contrast and detail? Notice, also, how the lighter tones have seemed to lose detail and contrast, and appeared to have rather flattened out?

Now, let’s see how this same grayscale would appear if we should darken the middle value step:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2006/13079-Color_Grayscale_Dark.jpg

Notice how the lighter steps now have gained a tremendous amount of detail and contrast, while the dark steps have become flattened in their contrast and have lost detail?

This quite graphically illustrates a standard maxim, of which we in the reproduction of values are constantly aware—ya’ can’t rob Peter, without paying Paul. Since there are limits to the possible ways in which one can distribute those tone values that occur between our two end limit values, if we choose to favor one end of the value scale, with increased detail and contrast, we automatically are forced to sacrifice those same attributes in the other end of the value scale. That is the grim reality of the situation, and whether we like it or not, it seems to be quite logical, as well as being inevitable. We simply can't have it both ways, and if we chose to try to have it both ways, the resulting painting suffers profoundly.

Notice that this apparent, overall "lightening" or "darkening" of our grayscale (image) was accomplished by simply moving the middle value to another place, while the end limits--the white and black--were left virtually un-modified. This redistributes all the tone values lying between those two end limits, similar to a rather slack string being pinned at both ends while the middle of it is moved around, forming a curved shape.

Now, I already know that some Photoshop enthusiast is liable to wish to take issue with my statement that if we exaggerate one end of the tone scale, we automatically sacrifice the other end. Photo programs allow one to literally deal with both ends, allowing us to build extreme contrast into the light end, as well as building contrast into the dark end. This seems to contradict my statement, regarding Ya' can't rob Peter, without paying Paul. But, please examine the results of doing exactly that.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Aug-2006/13079-Color_Grayscale_Both_Ends.jpg

In this case, although we may have achieved increased constrast and detail in both the light end and the dark end of the scale, we have surely sacrificed a much more important area of our tone scale--the MIDDLE VALUES. So, applying my analogy, although we may have "robbed" both Peter and Paul, we surely paid the ultimate price to "someone" for having done so--perhaps "Pauline"? We've lost all integrity of our middle values, and what values comprise probably 90% of every subject? Middle values!

It is the intelligent distribution of tone values lying within the value limitations of our paint that is the key to successfully achieving great looking paintings, and the knowledge of the proper location of the middle value is the means by which we may obtain that key.

See ya' all later. Our painting continues........an' I gotta' go and paint!

Bill

rosebard
08-04-2006, 07:53 PM
Bill it is looking great the grisaile and the lesson is just fabulous. Going to get myself a canvas ready for next week. :)

:)

WFMartin
08-05-2006, 03:57 PM
Bill it is looking great the grisaile and the lesson is just fabulous. Going to get myself a canvas ready for next week. :)

:)

Thank you, Rose.

Bill

WFMartin
08-05-2006, 04:26 PM
OPTICAL ILLUSIONS IN VALUES

We often are so intensely involved with the creating of realistic appearing art that we lose sight of the many optical illusions that can be utilized to good advantage in the creation of our art.

Optical illusions, while strictly “optical” in their nature, are still a factor, are just as “real”, are just as much a science, and do contribute to the way in which we view painted subjects, as any other aspect of painting. They are just as real as any other phenomenon regarding our art, and should at least be given some serious consideration when creating a painting.

These illusions abound, not only in the aspect of color, but in tones and values, as well. There is no reason that we shouldn’t put some of them to work for us in our producing of fine art.

One very important consideration for we who paint, is the various effects that occur at the edges of subjects—where one tone meets a different tone. The way we employ values to depict an edge often affects the appearance of values and areas that are quite distant from the actual edge, itself.

Let’s discover how this may work, by viewing just ONE of the myriad illusions related to fine art.

This is called the “horse’s tail illusion”. The premise here is that these two blocks of tone appear to be different, depending upon whether or not the edges of tone are allowed to abut each other, rather than being separated. It exemplifies exactly how an artist can make use of an edge to create an illusion that affects a larger area of the painting. When separated, by lowering a vertical, opaque, strip—the horse’s “tail”, if you will—the appearance changes, and, without the ability to discern the actual edge, where the two tones meet, the appearance suffers.

Here is the illusion, using tones:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2006/13079-Horsetail_Illusion.jpg

In this top example, we have two squares, and the question posed is to decide which of them is the darker. Most folks pick the right block as being darker.

Below, are the same two blocks, with evidence of the butting edges obliterated by a thin strip--the horse's tail. They are supposed to appear a bit differently from the first example, in which the abutting edges are visible. In this example, they usually appear to be the same
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2006/13079-Horsetail_Illusion_02.jpg

The answer is that the two blocks, in each of the examples, are identical, in both examples. Each block is a slight gradation, going from dark on the left, to a bit lighter on the right. The result is that where the dark portion of the right block meets the light portion of the left block the impression is given that the entire block is of the same tone value as that of the edge, itself, even though we know that to be false. This example reveals to us the vital influence and importance that the tone values at a simple edge can exert, in the execution of values in any subject with two separate, but only slightly different values.

It also tells us that if we pay attention to that which this illusion implies, and paint a slightly darker value on one side of a dark “edge”, the effect will be quite comparable to having darkened the entire area on the side of the edge on which the dark value was painted. I think that is quite an important concept.

Some artists feel that using this concept is rather a way of "cheating" in order to compensate for the perceived "weakness" of not having placed the proper tone in a given area to begin with. I consider it to be a crafty and intelligent application of a real, optical phenomenon, leading to an extremely strong fine art painting.

Here’s an update on the progress of my grisaille. I’ve been refining the tone gradations, touching up edges, smoothing areas that require it, and it seems that now, I have probably only one more session to go on this grisaille, and I will consider my “grayscaled” underpainting completed. I have probably utilized my awareness of the “horse’s tail” illusion in the painting of the various values of this grisaille—some which represent very subtle differences of value.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_3rd_Grisaille.jpg

More to come, folks.

Bill

antgeek
08-06-2006, 02:44 PM
very instructional workshop, bill! thanks so much for taking the time to put this together, i'm rating this a 5 for sure!

Lap3
08-06-2006, 04:28 PM
Bill:

I am so looking forward to giving this a try. I have my canvas prepared for toning and my subject all picked out.
I will be out of town for a week so I have to pick this back up when I return. Just wanted you to know that I really appreciate you putting in so much time and effort to share this with all of us.

Cheryl

WFMartin
08-06-2006, 05:31 PM
Thank you, Sarah, and Cheryl. I appreciate your comments.

Bill

Leonora
08-06-2006, 06:26 PM
Bill
Great workshop.:clap: I only have Photoshop Elements 4.0 and I can't find the desaturate function. Maybe it only exists in the full Photoshop program. Will Grayscale be an option if I don't have the desaturate function?
Leonora:music:

WFMartin
08-06-2006, 06:52 PM
Leonora,

I have Photoshop 5.5. In my Photoshop program, to desaturate my image, I go to the top toolbar, and click "Image". It opens a list, and the second item down from the top on that list is "adjust". Select "adjust", and it, in turn, opens a list of functions, of which the 8th one down is "desaturate".

See whether you can locate it. I don't know whether Photoshop 4 has it, or not. If not, "grayscale" is your only other logical choice. I used to work with Photoshop 4, but I can't remember whether or not it has a desaturate function. Possibly under a "hue/saturate" function??--or something similar.

Bill

WFMartin
08-06-2006, 07:19 PM
THE LAST LAYER OF THE GRISAILLE

Well, I believe I have corrected and embellished this grisaille to the extent that I wanted.. Value-wise, I hope it has been an inspiration to a few who may have not tried this technique before. I generally carry a grisaille underpainting such as this to quite a completed stage, before beginning to apply color glazes, because that amount of refinement of the grisaille makes for a very enjoyable application of color glazes.

When you have refined your grisaille to such an extent, you will often receive comments from viewers that it could stand on its own the way it is, and that they feel it may seem unnecessary to apply color at all. Some may even feel that it might be a sacrilege to even consider “harming” such a painting, by the application of color.

When you receive comments such as these from other artists regarding your grisaille, it usually indicates that you have, indeed, created a very appropriate, and wonderful grisaille underpainting. Whether or not you may wish to carry on with color glazes is up to you, of course, but you can rest, assured that you have done a very appropriate underpainting, capable of receiving color glazes in the most elegant manner.

For my first few sessions, I used a medium whose ingredients are 1 part Stand Oil to 5 parts Turpentine. This is a fairly lean mixture by the "lean/medium/fat" standards, "fat" meaning more oil than solvent, "lean" meaning more solvent than oil. For my later layers of this grisaille, I used a medium that I have grown to really love, and it was one of those that I simply "threw together" out of desperation, one day, when I got tired of using mediums who got "gummy" and sticky, and began to set up, while in use.

I mix up a recipe of 1 part Linseed Oil, 1 part Walnut Oil, 1 part Venice Turpentine (this is the resin), and 2 parts Oil of Spike (this is the solvent). This is a very smooth-flowing medium that lubricates every brush stroke, remains "open" (wet) while working, levels the brush strokes, and usually dries overnight.

I will use this medium for the remainder of the painting. It is what I would consider a "medium" sort of medium, in the "lean/medium/fat" progression of oil content.

This is my grisaille, with all the tones/values in place, accomplished to the best of my ability. This may actually represent a bit greater “refinement” of my grisaille than I usually do, but because this was a workshop on “Values” in fine art, I felt it appropriate that I should carry it through to this extent.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_4th_Grisaille.jpg



And, as I mentioned, the “pay off” for having done so is a very enjoyable application of color glaze layers. The rest of this painting will truly seem to paint itself, with such a refined grisaille underpainting as a tone map for a guide, as I have created with this underpainting.

This really wraps up my explanation and demonstration of the use of tone values in fine art, but I do intend to continue by applying glazes of color over this grisaille, and those of you who wish to stick around, so to speak, are certainly welcome to continue, as I bring my painting to completion with color glazes. I will keep posting my works-in-progress, until I have completed this painting.

My thanks to those who have shown interest in this process.

I plan to continue with my color glazes on this painting. However, this deserves a little longer drying time, before applying glazes, so I will be posting my progress photos in a day or two.

Be seein' y'all in a day or two.:) Remember.....it's truly ALL ABOUT VALUES!:thumbsup:

Bill

Rosic
08-06-2006, 07:41 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2006/17108-stars-cartoon.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2006/17108-stars-cartoon.gif
Bill if I could have given this more than a five star rating I would have...:D :clap:

stoney
08-06-2006, 08:17 PM
THE LAST LAYER OF THE GRISAILLE

Well, I believe I have corrected and embellished this grisaille to the extent that I wanted.. Value-wise, I hope it has been an inspiration to a few who may have not tried this technique before. I generally carry a grisaille underpainting such as this to quite a completed stage, before beginning to apply color glazes, because that amount of refinement of the grisaille makes for a very enjoyable application of color glazes.

My thanks to those who have shown interest in this process.

I plan to continue with my color glazes on this painting. However, this deserves a little longer drying time, before applying glazes, so I will be posting my progress photos in a day or two.

Be seein' y'all in a day or two.:) Remember.....it's truly ALL ABOUT VALUES!:thumbsup:

Bill

That griselle's drop dead gorgeous, Bill. Thank you. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Leonora
08-06-2006, 11:13 PM
Hi Bill

Thanks so much for the clue about looking for Adjust Hue/Saturation. I found it under both Enhance, Adjust Color and under Layer, New Adjustment Layer in Photoshop Elements 4. I hope that others who have Elements 4 will see this message.

Your technique for teaching values is one that I haven't seen before, but I can truly relate to it. Thanks for sharing it with us. BTW, I can't imagine that your painting will be any lovelier with the glazes.

Leonora:music:

Annapurna
08-07-2006, 05:50 PM
Thanks Bill,

Thousands of thanks, this is an archive treasure. I'm really looking forward to using this method with a portrait... at least I think it can be done, yes?

Annapurna

zaanor
08-07-2006, 06:34 PM
Hello to all

and SPECIAL THANKS to Bill for this wonderful workshop :clap:

I'm very happy for this learning. I was always amazed by the fine arts and got some understanding of the procedures is a must!

If our teacher can manage some time, I really appreciate to learn how to make glazes.

Hugs

Zaanor

snoball
08-07-2006, 08:47 PM
I have Photoshop 5.5. In my Photoshop program, to desaturate my image, I go to the top toolbar, and click "Image". It opens a list, and the second item down from the top on that list is "adjust". Select "adjust", and it, in turn, opens a list of functions, of which the 8th one down is "desaturate".

Bill
Hi Bill,
I have PhotoShop 7.0 and it is very similar. You click on "image" and second from the top is "adjustments" which opens a long list and within that list is desaturate.
Very interesting workshop you are turning out here. I love to watch your work progress anyway.
~M~

PaintingMum
08-08-2006, 09:18 AM
Thank you Mr Martin, this info is excellent!
Can this method be used with acrylics?

Jaana

WFMartin
08-08-2006, 06:14 PM
Thank you Mr Martin, this info is excellent!
Can this method be used with acrylics?

Jaana

Yes, I would surely think so! I have only done enough acrylics to be a bit familiar with their behavior, but as I recall, one who is familiar with the application of acrylics should find a great pleasure in doing a painting in this style.

I know glazing is appropriate with acrylics, and you might be able to find much application for the techniques I've outlined in this workshop.

Wait till you begin to see the color glazes go on this grisaille. This is the sort of subject that will literally spring to life with the first little hint of color.

I never cease to be amazed (although I teach this concept routinely) at the minimal amount of color that it takes to render a neutral underpainting quite realistic. We artists (myself included) often have such an uncontrollable tendency to over-color a subject. Most subjects are truly neutral-based, with just enough color to make them capable of being identified. Flowers, on the other hand, often need a bit more color than most natural subjects, such as trees, grass, rocks seem to.

This is one reason I have chosen to mix my own greens. While there are some very subdued tube greens, I like the variety and low chroma (saturation) of the greens that I am able to mix myself, by using several "yellows" and "cyan" type colors. Nature has not seen fit to knock our eyes out with blatant, garish colors, except for a few sunsets, perhaps.:D And, unless I'm painting something like a man-made neon sign, or a carnival midway, or a Las Vegas city street, I generally don't see much need for the over-coloring of most subjects, for the purpose of achieving the effect of classical realism.

I will be glazing my first layer of color over this grisaille very shortly, and I believe you will begin to understand my position on this sort of reality, when I begin adding color to this grisaille underpainting.

Acrylics should, indeed, lend themselves very appropriately to this sort of technique.

Bill

PaintingMum
08-08-2006, 09:39 PM
Yes, I would surely think so! I have only done enough acrylics to be a bit familiar with their behavior, but as I recall, one who is familiar with the application of acrylics should find a great pleasure in doing a painting in this style. ...

Bill,
Thanks for taking the time to reply in depth. I have a portrait I'd like to have a go at so I'll watch and you and then have a go myself. You are a wealth of info.
Thank you so very much,

Jaana

WFMartin
08-09-2006, 11:09 PM
Once we have created our grisaille underpainting, and the values are as accurate as we can possibly get them, it is time to begin glazing color over it.


We must allow our grisaille underpainting to thoroughly dry to the touch, with no sticky or tacky areas of paint being noticeable. Our glazing medium contains Oil of Spike as our solvent, and it is a bit more aggressive a solvent than Turpentine, so the underpainting must be dry in order for it not to be dissolved by the application of our medium.

As I mentioned, my recipe for the medium that I will be using for the completion of this glazing process is as follows: 1 part Linseed Oil, 1 part Walnut Oil, 1 part Venice Turpentine, and 2 parts Oil of Spike.

One method to employ our medium for glazing is to rub a bit onto the surface of the dried grisaille underpainting. I often dip medium out of the cup with the tip of my finger, and literally massage it into the surface of the dried underpainting. This rubbing action helps to discourage the tendency of the medium to bead up on the dried surface, by breaking the surface tension. I only cover a large enough area that I estimate I can cover with paint in a short time. If I should need more during my painting session, I apply some more, using the same technique. This is the occasion for which the old masters would often rub an onion or a clove of garlic on the surface. Since I don’t wish my painting to smell like an Italian restaurant, I opt for the addition of a resin, for the purpose of better adhesion without beading. The resin is the Venice Turpentine.

Another method of utilizing our medium for the glazing process is to dip out a bit of medium from our palette cup, using the tip of our brush with which we will be picking up our paint. Often we find that certain paints simply require a bit more medium in order to be manageable, and to serve us well in the particular application for which we intend. Quite often a hazy, “scumble” sort of application may actually require a bit less medium, than the delineation of a fine line, which may require a bit more medium to be successful in its application.

It is for this reason that I do not pre-mix medium with my paint nut on the palette. Every brush stroke or two may require a different amount of medium, and I find it more convenient to mix in my medium as I require it. The general rule of thumb is that we not use any more medium than it requires to achieve the technique that we want. The ultimate would be to not use any medium whatsoever. However, some paints that are fresh out of the tube, and from different manufacturers are often so stiff, that it would be nearly impossible to apply them (especially in a fineline, or detailing manner) without the addition of at least some medium.

I have glazed my painting in just a few areas with color. You’ll notice that I glazed some color over the green, pod-shaped buds, as well as the centers of the flowers. The greens are various combinations of Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Prussian Blue, and Raw Umber, with a bit of Cadmium Red Deep for darkening.

The centers of the flowers are combinations of Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose 502, Grumbacher Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Red Deep, and Ivory Black. Black does a very good job of darkening secondary colors without causing hue shifts, and Cadmium Red Medium and Deep are certainly examples of a secondary color—Red. The Permanent Rose is closer in its behavior to that of a primary—magenta—and will tend to shift to a violet, by the darkening action caused by mixing a Black with it. Just as a primary yellow becomes green when darkened with black, so does a magenta become blue, when darkened with black. Primaries are unique—each reflects two thirds of the white light (red, green, blue) spectrum, and when darkened, begin to exhibit their “other color”. Magenta represents an equal reflectance of both red AND blue light. Therefore, it tends to turn blue or at least blue-er, when darkened by the addition of black. The actual hue bias of the black has very little to do with the effect, as others who have tried a "warmer" black will often verify. It's not the "blue-ness" of the black, but the darkening effect of it upon the primary color, that causes the effect.

Primary colors do exist, are, indeed, unique in their properties, and, as a result, in their behavior. It is for this reason that we cannot consider just any old color we may wish to, a “primary”. Well, I suppose we can consider anything we want a primary color (as some artist do), but we should never expect it to behave like one, because it simply won't; Mother Nature simply has chosen not to build every color that way. Only a primary will behave as a primary. The most logical approach we can take as artists, is to learn to understand their unique and wonderful behavior, and to utilize that interesting behavior to our own advantage. Utilizing other colors, which are not primaries for their unique behaviors is equally as important. But, their behaviors are most assuredly different from those of primary colors.

I lightened the lighter areas of the centers with Old Holland Flake White, rather than using any other color, such as yellow, because I wished to retain the cool, violet appearance. I didn’t want it to turn too “red”.

Here’s the example of my first application of a color glaze. We should always select our glaze paints for their color, rather than their transparency. Transparency is not a necessary attribute of a glaze color. In fact, I often add some opaque white in order to purposely gain some opacity of the glaze layer. We achieve the effective “transparency” of the glaze layer, by applying our color thinly, being careful not to dilute our paint with medium. Applying the paint in a thin manner, is the goal for a glaze layer, rather than over-loading it with medium. It makes our painting much more archival than a thick layer of oil medium, with only a weak dispersion of pigment within it.

Here’s the painting:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_Glaze_01.jpg

It is always amazing to me how very little color a subject often requires to begin appearing quite realistic. The careful attention to having the correct values seems to be the true key to a successful final painting. At this stage, much of the grisaille underpainting is still visible through the glaze. As we apply successive glazes the grisaille becomes less and less visible, eventually becoming nearly completely hidden by the glazes.

More glazes to come. See ya' later.:)

Bill

Annapurna
08-10-2006, 03:58 AM
Hi Bill,

THIS GRISAILLE IS EXQUISITE!!.. It is so clear to me that you are loving what you do....hooray for us here..

My canvases are almost ready, after sanding etc.,
You said.......

" the first oil paint that I apply is an imprimatura. To make this color, I mix equal portions of Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna, with enough Permalba White to make it lighter and fairly opaque. "

Would you use the same colour if you were going to paint a portrait Bill?

I'm a wee bit overstuffed with information and not sure how best would create an underpainting tone that would suit a teenager. I like some verdaccio I've seen, and I've also liked Ms. Ciallelo's underpaintings...totally different look...but she has made so many changes over time in her posts.. I'm even more confused.

Would the Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna imprimatura be okay as a start for a portrait? And then what would you use? Have you ever demonstrated a portrait? also, I cannot buy new paints just now, and only have zinc and titanium white, should I maybe mix them for the making of skin tones? Also, I am not able to get a scale right now either, so I'm going to have to wing it I guess....

So much to consider that I feel a new colour coming on..."burnt brain".

Annapurna

Amadan
08-10-2006, 12:44 PM
Have taken a break from painting lately but am eager to get back into it again. I'm still very new to painting. I would also like to hear the answers to Anna purnas questions, I have a few myself too WFMartin that you might be able to answer (that's if you can understand what I'm on about.) I would also like to hear what John Cox has to say, as I'm very impressed with his thread also. WFMartin your painting is coming along amazenly, I would love to have a fraction of your talent. My questions are as follow:
1) I checked out your website WFMartin and wow what art. I was wondering, I'm planning on doing a seascape with cliffs and sand and people and I was looking at your landscapes. They appear "different" to your style for painting flowers and portraits. How do you go about doing a landscape? Do you use a very detailed grissiale underpainting like the one in this wip? Or do you have some othere way?
2) I see both yourself and John Cox talk about values and getting a photographers value rular thing. I can see how they would work when you are working from photos that have been converted into black and white or in the way you described (can't remember exact word you mentioned) and you are working with black/grey and white mixes but I'm still a bit confused about the colour. I know I'm a bit thick! I see that you both give each colour a value as it comes out of tube. Do these colours always have the same value? So is it just a matter learning that the red I have is say a 3 and blue is say a 5? And what about if you mix the pale yellow that has a value of 2 with a dark blue that has a value of 5 (not sure if blue has a value of 5 or not) how do you know what value you have then from the mix on your palette? Would it be a 3 if you used 1/2 and 1/2? I'm afraid I'm having problems viewing and converting the physical paints I mix on my palette as numbers on the value scale.
Sorry if my questions sound stupid.

WFMartin
08-10-2006, 06:59 PM
Annapurna & Amadan,

I am going to try to answer all your questions at the same time. One may use any color imprimatura one wishes. Yes, I generally use the same color (Burnt Sienna/Raw Sienna) when doing a portrait. I mix it with white to make it opaque. My method for doing a portrait may seem a little strange, in that I begin the painting of my image by painting direct over my imprimatura with image color, while following an extremely blurred reference photo--often turning it upside down at the very beginning. I use no grisaille underpainting for portraits. As I progress, I then trade my greatly-blurred reference photo for one less blurred, until I finally am painting from a sharply-focused reference photo. I use no drawing, no sketch, no cartooning, but go directly to the canvas (over the imprimatura) with colored paint, as I begin my portrait.

If you wish to use an underpainting other than the grisaille, a mix of Ivory Black and Chromium Oxide Green works very well. It offers an off-gray verdaccio (green) underpainting over which you may glaze portrait colors very well. If I did portraits in this manner, that is certainly the approach I would use.

Some of the landscapes and still lifes on my website were painted before I began using the procedures that I now use. The fact that they may appear a bit different is not surprising. Yes, I certainly do paint quite a detailed grisaille as the beginning of my landscapes, now. I find that once the values are worked out on the canvas, the addition of color seems to fall right into place, and quite easily as well.

I'm truly not trying to evade your question regarding tones numbered "4" and "5", etc., except to restate that which I mentioned in my workshop thread. That is when one decides to create his own value scale by mixing his own paints in questionably measured quantities, the results are quite honestly anything but uniform, and they certainly do not represent a standard by any means. Although one may create some "pretty" values in that manner, they truly don't represent anything anyone can remotely use as a measuring stick or guide, other than being able to say, "Look at this pretty value scale I made." Its usefulness is quite questionable, I have found.

As I mentioned before, while a "density of .65" is quite specific, a "step 5" of a home-made, mixed paint value scale is not, and truly can be different from mix to mix, from person to person, from day to day, from brand to brand of paint, and that's the reason I have not "bought into" that method of tone measurement. Instead, I select a step on my commercial grayscale, and mix paint until I have visually matched it as best I can. To me that results in a much more meaningful and standard method of attaining a value that I desire than guessing at what a middle value might be. After all, if we are going to do nothing but guess at what the "middle value" might be, we may as well eliminate the grayscale entirely, and make this "guess" based upon our reference photo. That is just as valid and by far more straightforward than using some hand-made, uncalibrated grayscale (value scale), that we've mixed with paint.

I'm sorry, but I can't answer your questions based upon steps "4", "5", etc., of a hand-made value scale, for no other reason than I am not familiar with the method one would employ in doing so. I can offer no opinion, because I have none, only to say that it would seem to me to be similar to shooting at a moving target with a rifle.

However, one of the reasons for creating a grisaille underpainting is so that I don't HAVE to make all those value judgements regarding each color as it comes out of the tube. The grisaille has already "mapped" that part of my painting out. All I have to do is follow the value of the grisaille area over which I am glazing my color. For example, the simple fact that a deep purple is represented by a much greater density of value than a Cadmium Yellow Light, is already represented in the grisaille underpainting (provided we have followed the values of our de-saturated reference photo reasonably well).

A grisaille underpainting is not just a "pretty picture"--it is truly a useful tool for applying further color glazes. We need only follow the tones/values of the grisaille, when glazing the colors over it. Part of the grisaille shows through the glazes in the beginning stages, allowing us to assess and re-assess our accuracy in attaining the correct values, as we continue to apply color. Our guide is the color reference photo, and the grisaille is a fairly accurate tool to help us achieve our final color results quite accurately.

Bill

WFMartin
08-11-2006, 12:16 AM
FURTHER GLAZING

Just as in creating a grisaille underpainting, the first glaze does not have to be completed in one session. However, for the sake of avoiding confusion, it is best to finish one complete layer of color glaze, before proceeding to apply the second glaze layer. However, this first layer of glaze does still not need to be accomplished in one pass, and can be worked on in several sessions.

This is the really fun part, and is the part where I often claim the painting seems to paint itself, it is truly that enjoyable an experience.

I had begun work on this first color glaze yesterday, but only got the centers of the flowers and the green pods glazed with color. Today, I worked a bit on the background, and I believe that will be apparent in the photo of my progress.

This photo shows my easel with my color reference photo next to my painting, so you can compare the two. Photos tend to distort one or the other in color, so there will be some expected difference between the two. Also please realize that this only represents the first glaze layer, and I intend for further glaze layers to bring it even closer to the reference photo.

Some of my background glaze has scumbled onto a few edges of my white petals, but not to worry! I haven't glazed the petals, and when I do, I will simply work back over those areas with the white paint--perhaps even spilling over onto the dark background in places. In doing glazing, this back-and-forth action, a bit of "spillover" is quite normal. With each glaze layer, we will re-establish edges, softening some, and sharpening others, while all the time working one tone over the other, and then back again, with the next glaze layer. After a while, and several glazes, the edges of the flower petals will begin to take on an extraordinary, realistic appearance.

This is my progress so far:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_Glaze_02.jpg

I'm quite excited and pleased with my efforts on this painting, and hope you may be getting some ideas regarding this method as a result. It is surely a very gratifying way to create a painting, and when completed, will display all the appearance of a wonderful fine art piece of which you can be proud. Archivally sound and built using the techniques of the old masters of glazing, it will be the epitome of classical art.:)

More glazing to come. As Emeril (the TV chef) would say, "Oh YEAH, Babe!!" I DO love my job, with a passion!:D

Have a good day.:wink2:

Bill

Annapurna
08-11-2006, 01:03 AM
Thanks heaps Bill.

I'm just going to have to make a decision, so I'm going to do some
practise studies, one of each, and see where I get with that. I'll do
a small verdaccio, one with the furry method (I call it), and another
with the same as you used for the imprimatura on yours.

Your orchid is stunning, and I'll definitely try this method.

It's time I got down to it.

Annapurna :wave:

WFMartin
08-11-2006, 02:11 AM
Thanks heaps Bill.

I'm just going to have to make a decision, so I'm going to do some
practise studies, one of each, and see where I get with that. I'll do
a small verdaccio, one with the furry method (I call it), and another
with the same as you used for the imprimatura on yours.

Your orchid is stunning, and I'll definitely try this method.

It's time I got down to it.

Annapurna :wave:

Annapurna,

My method is one of many ways to approach the creation of an oil painting, but I find that I enjoy it greatly. A verdaccio should serve your purpose very nicely, I believe.

Bill

WFMartin
08-13-2006, 02:07 AM
After a couple of sessions, I have come to the stage at which most of my entire canvas has been covered with a color glaze.

When performing glazing such as this, I try to aim for the color that I wish in the the final painting. In other words, I will glaze a dark green in an area that seems to require a dark, and glaze in a light green wherever an area seems to require that. Although I do not necessarily try to make my colors exactly the color and tone they will be on the final painting, I also don't purposely go for those more tricky, exotic effects, such as painting a yellow down as a first glaze, and then trying to produce the exact green I wish, by glazing a subsequent layer of a cyan or blue. Instead, I will more often aim for the correct green with the first glaze, and try to embellish and improve its accuracy with subsequent glazes.

At this point, it is wise to give special attention to the subtlety of the various colors in the glaze. There are very few areas of bright, pure, garish colors, but instead the subtle off-gray hues that are so important to this, and most other realistic paintings.

So, I mix up a few "neutrals", and then purposely add enough of a specific color to subtley bias or skew it in that intended direction. I keep in mind that this grisaille underpainting was a fairly accurate reproduction on its own, and that the addition of color is like frosting on an otherwise perfectly good cake.

When I mix a neutral, I use French Ultramarine Blue and Raw Umber. This often exhibits a cool tendency, so I'll add a bit of Cadmium Red Deep. I mix nearly all my neutrals from this beginning combination.

This is the stage of my painting at which I have applied my first glaze layer over the entire image.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_Glaze_03.jpg

While it is drying, I contemplate my next step, which is to apply a further color glaze. To do this, I look at the painting from a distance, and determine the weakest point or points on the painting, regarding the color accuracy. These points will be the first areas upon which I will concentrate my efforts, when applying my next glaze layer.

More glazing to follow.:)

Bill

stoney
08-13-2006, 10:16 AM
After a couple of sessions, I have come to the stage at which most of my entire canvas has been covered with a color glaze.

When performing glazing such as this, I try to aim for the color that I wish in the the final painting. In other words, I will glaze a dark green in an area that seems to require a dark, and glaze in a light green wherever an area seems to require that. Although I do not necessarily try to make my colors exactly the color and tone they will be on the final painting, I also don't purposely go for those more tricky, exotic effects, such as painting a yellow down as a first glaze, and then trying to produce the exact green I wish, by glazing a subsequent layer of a cyan or blue. Instead, I will more often aim for the correct green with the first glaze, and try to embellish and improve its accuracy with subsequent glazes.

At this point, it is wise to give special attention to the subtlety of the various colors in the glaze. There are very few areas of bright, pure, garish colors, but instead the subtle off-gray hues that are so important to this, and most other realistic paintings.

So, I mix up a few "neutrals", and then purposely add enough of a specific color to subtley bias or skew it in that intended direction. I keep in mind that this grisaille underpainting was a fairly accurate reproduction on its own, and that the addition of color is like frosting on an otherwise perfectly good cake.

When I mix a neutral, I use French Ultramarine Blue and Raw Umber. This often exhibits a cool tendency, so I'll add a bit of Cadmium Red Deep. I mix nearly all my neutrals from this beginning combination.

This is the stage of my painting at which I have applied my first glaze layer over the entire image.


Bill

Jaw drops and shatters on the floor.

antgeek
08-13-2006, 03:07 PM
lookin' yummy! fun to see the development, bill.

Annapurna
08-14-2006, 01:24 AM
So delightful, what a learning experience to see you do
such a beauty all the way through, and what an archive.

Thanks Bill. Still watching,

idcrisis55
08-14-2006, 08:07 AM
What a workshop with so much information to absorb! Your painting is coming along beautifully.

Ann

Marcella B
08-16-2006, 01:21 PM
Got in here late Bill, the painting is looking great, all this information is wonderful, I think I better print the info. and make me a WFMartin art book. :clap:
Marcella

WFMartin
08-16-2006, 08:09 PM
Gosh, Thank you, Everyone!

I looked over the results of my glazing, and saw a couple of areas that needed some attention. The little pod (or bud) in the upper, left, seemed to have needed a little brightening. The centers of the flowers needed a bit of further detailing and attention. And, of course the flower petals seem to improve with each glaze layer. The reason this is so is that each glaze layer, being applied thinly enough that it is somewhat transparent or translucent, adds its characteristics in tone, color, and detail, to the one directly beneath it. That means that brush strokes of the glaze layer, cancel out, meld with, blend into, modify, the layer under it. Each time I apply a glaze, the improvement becomes noticeable. Smoothness is improved, richness is enhanced, color is changed and enhanced, with each glaze application.

I generally know when to quit, when after a long session working on the painting, I find it difficult to notice a great improvement when I step back to look at the result.

I am reaching that point now, with this painting. I believe it's just about ready for the signing stage. I may do a few touch-ups, but for the most part, I believe I've carried this painting to a final completion.

Here is the painting, showing the results of my final glazing:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/13079-White_Flower_Glaze_04.jpg

Well, folks, you've seen the complete and entire example of the steps through which I routinely progress, whenever I create a painting using the glazing method. I nearly always build my glaze layers upon a carefully prepared grisaille underpainting, not because it makes for unnecessary work, but because the important color glazing is made much easier in working over such a carefully prepared grisaille underpainting.

As you have seen, I prepare a grisaille to such an extent that it often could stand alone on its merits. And, that's where the study of values, and the ability to apply such knowledge of values becomes important. The knowledge of the density of an appropriate middle value, and the ability to distribute the remaining values between highlight and middle value, and between the middle value and the shadow (dark) seems to be the key for me in preparing such a grisaille underpainting.

We must always remind ourselves that we are always required to work within the value limitations of our process--the paint with which we are working.

The whitest white and the darkest dark can only be as light or as dark as the paint that we are applying to the canvas, and the key to proper painting of our subject is the knowledge of how we may distribute the remaining values within these limits. To do this, a knowledge of middle tone density is quite important.

I feel that the bit of patience that may be required by using this process is more than balanced by the results that is realized by using it.

I am a devotee of this grisaille process, and of glazing it to completion. Although I admire the works of some of those artists who prefer the more direct, alla prima methods, I truly enjoy working in oils this way, and hope that I may have inspired a few of you artists to give it a try. I believe you will find it an incredibly gratifying process.

My thanks to Barbara Solomon for inviting me to present this workshop, and my thanks to you all for following along with the process. My thanks to bairam, whose contribution to the Reference Photo Library resulted in this painting that I was able to offer as a workshop. I hope she managed to peek in on this workshop, to see her flower become a beautiful, classic oil painting.

Happy Painting, Everyone!

Bill

Nickel
08-16-2006, 10:02 PM
Thank you very much Bill for holding this workshop for the classical forum,
Wetcanvas members and guest viewers.

It's been delightful to see your process and the beautiful painting that results
from your method.

Again, thanks:D Nickel

bjs0704
08-16-2006, 11:00 PM
Thanks so much, Bill! Your explanations were excellent! I really enjoyed seeing the techniques that you use! We all enjoyed it!:clap: :clap: :clap:

Barb Solomon:cat:

bjs0704
08-16-2006, 11:05 PM
I've been working on a painting of a sunflower that I found in the reference image library. I'm following the same procedures that Bill is using and I'm going to post it to the gallery thread for this workshop when I finish. I'm still drawing it out in charcoal. Is anybody else going over there?

This has really been a great group!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/11410-woot.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/11410-woot.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Aug-2006/11410-woot.gif


Barb Solomon:cat:

Annapurna
08-17-2006, 12:38 AM
Thanks again Bill,

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

This goes into my forever reference book!

What a gift.

Annapurna

WFMartin
08-17-2006, 02:08 AM
Thanks, Nickel, Annapurna, and also to Barb Solomon who asked me to present this workshop.

I've enjoyed it, and hope that some of you have gathered enough of my techniques to try it for yourselves.

Bill

jow104
08-17-2006, 04:18 AM
Thank you wfmartin, I have taken the liberty of making a save to each page and adding to favourites off line options.
The reason obviously is to study and learn from your contribution.

I came to this thread only today via a post of mine at the colour theory/mixing forum (controversial opinion) and which you graciously sent me a private message reply.

Thanks again.

Lap3
08-17-2006, 08:40 AM
I just wanted to throw in my thanks to you as well, Bill. I have saved and printed the entire workshop. My canvas is ready and my subject is already picked out. As soon as I deal with some personal issues, I plan to give this a try. Your work is amazing and I have learned a great deal from your workshop.

Thank you for your time and effort in presenting this. It is greatly appreciated by many. (And not just those of us that actually posted a written thank you!!!)

Cheryl

idcrisis55
08-17-2006, 09:50 AM
Bill, your painting loooks so luminous. You do such beautiful and I want to thank you for taking the time to share all of this. I have a still life in mind that I want to do, using your approach.

Ann

WFMartin
08-17-2006, 12:21 PM
Bill, your painting loooks so luminous. You do such beautiful and I want to thank you for taking the time to share all of this. I have a still life in mind that I want to do, using your approach.

Ann

Thanks to everyone.

Ann, I think you'll find that this technique works exceptionally well for almost any sort of still life subject. Since the technique obviously requires a scene that remains relatively stationary throughout the various stages, just about any still life is well suited for using this method. I worked from a photograph on this particular painting, but one could also easily adapt it to working in real life.

Bill

bjs0704
08-17-2006, 01:17 PM
Cheryl and Ann - I hope that you post your work over here!

I usually try to be careful with my initial drawings. It saves me time later. It’s going to take me a couple of days to post an outline.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=362965



Thanks, Bill! I arranging these workshops! When I see people's reactions, I know that it really helps everyone!

Barb Solomon:cat:

idcrisis55
08-17-2006, 01:25 PM
Hi Bill, there is a photo by Ian Bruce that has been calling to me since he posted it in the RIL, here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=53671&cat=500&ppuser=64870&sl=i), that I think would work great. Plus, I just saved a box to set up still life arrangements for more lighting control. I'm getting anxious to start and plan to paint in oils although I am not as familiar with them. It should be great fun :D.

Ann

idcrisis55
08-17-2006, 01:28 PM
Thanks Barb, for the link. I have subscribed to it and hope to see others posting their work as well. I love seeing them and reading the comments which are ever so helpful.

Ann

Granby
08-17-2006, 01:38 PM
(Almost done with my underpainting - will post it soon: I'm taking extra time to make my underpainting nice and solid: which I think has been one of my main problems with glazing)

Mr Martin (or anyone):

Big concern with my picture:
How does one illustrate the difference between 'dark' and black: Both furry little stuffed animals I'm working on have pieces of black fur on them. The fur is clearly black, and also clearly less 'dark' than the shadow behind them. I don't know a good strategy to handle this. (Plus its fuzzy fur so it is not very reflective): Lighten the black down before I paint it? Just paint it black then lighten it with velaturas as needed? Just glaze black over the underpainting and not worry about it?

Also: A question about shadow boundaries: In the past, when trying to glaze I've greatly struggled with the edge between shadow and light. If I glaze over the edge - it demphasizes the boundary too much: but it seems really hard to work in from the sides and get it just right. Any tips? (Maybe my solid underpainting will solve this problem though).

WFMartin
08-17-2006, 10:24 PM
(Almost done with my underpainting - will post it soon: I'm taking extra time to make my underpainting nice and solid: which I think has been one of my main problems with glazing)

Mr Martin (or anyone):

Big concern with my picture:
How does one illustrate the difference between 'dark' and black: Both furry little stuffed animals I'm working on have pieces of black fur on them. The fur is clearly black, and also clearly less 'dark' than the shadow behind them. I don't know a good strategy to handle this. (Plus its fuzzy fur so it is not very reflective): Lighten the black down before I paint it? Just paint it black then lighten it with velaturas as needed? Just glaze black over the underpainting and not worry about it?

Also: A question about shadow boundaries: In the past, when trying to glaze I've greatly struggled with the edge between shadow and light. If I glaze over the edge - it demphasizes the boundary too much: but it seems really hard to work in from the sides and get it just right. Any tips? (Maybe my solid underpainting will solve this problem though).


Granby,

To make an effective grisaille you need to forget about color for awhile--just long enough to produce the tone values that are required. You are describing a "black" in the subject that seems lighter than the "dark" shadow behind the subject. Follow your tones/values. Don't be confused by a "black" being lighter than a "dark", but simply paint it that way. "Black" is a color, while "dark" is a value, and you need to make your grisaille follow the values, and not the colors.

In other words, for creating the grisaille, you should be painting your "dark" shadow, behind the subject darker than the "black" color, within the subject, in order to make everything work properly. The whole concept of creating a grisaille is for the purpose of divorcing the concept of value from that of color, both mentally and physically, and painting the grisaille with that in mind, and doing it reasonably accurately, according to the values represented in your reference.

To answer your question regarding the integrity of the edge where light meets dark, you may find it helpful to arrange to have both the light and dark areas wet at the same time, when you are trying to do this. That way you can work both sides against the "middle", the "middle" being the edge, itself.

Inevitably this happens, anyway, as one paints. I often find that in trying to correct little "spill over" mistakes, I end up mixing up a bit of both tones, and working one, and then the other toward the edge. It makes very little difference whether the final stroke of paint is on the light side or the dark side, of the edge that has been created.

In fact, this working with both sides wet is an excellent method for softening an edge, wherever you feel it is necessary. One can maintain pretty good control of an edge, when both the light side and the dark side are wet when working with it. This concept can be equally as effective when painting either the grisaille or in painting the glazes.

Hope that helps you.

Bill

bairam
08-18-2006, 07:40 PM
Bill I have peeked in more than once to see your progress on this beautiful painting. I'm so pleased that you chose my photo to use as your model.
You've done an outstanding job on it.

I don't work in oils much anylonger but found your method facinating. I may have to give this one a try in colored pencil.

Thanks again and congradulation on a job well done. :clap: :clap: :clap:

WFMartin
08-18-2006, 10:25 PM
Maria,

Thank you for dropping in, and thanks again for contributing such a nice photo to the Reference Image Library. For anyone who hasn't tried it, the Reference Image Library is a great source of subjects, as well as ideas. This is about the third or fourth painting I've done from an image I plucked from the image library on Wet Canvas.

Thanks, Maria.:)

Bill

WFMartin
08-28-2006, 03:18 PM
Well, I have now signed the painting, after having glazed another layer on the white areas of the flowers.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Aug-2006/13079-Butterfly_Orchid_Final.jpg

It is now thoroughly complete, and ready for framing.

Once again, thanks to all who followed along with this workshop.

Bill

idcrisis55
08-28-2006, 04:26 PM
Bill, this is absolutely beautiful. I have one other question for you and that is how long do you wait before varnishing? I have heard six months, up to a year depending on the thickness of the paint.

Again, thank you so much for your talent, knowledge, and time.

Ann

WFMartin
08-28-2006, 05:33 PM
Bill, this is absolutely beautiful. I have one other question for you and that is how long do you wait before varnishing? I have heard six months, up to a year depending on the thickness of the paint.

Again, thank you so much for your talent, knowledge, and time.

Ann

Ann,

When the painting has dried to the touch, and has had about 2 weeks worth of drying, I apply a thin coat of retouch varnish. That retouch varnish evens out the high and low spots, and prepares the painting for showing.

Then, after about 6 months of further drying, I apply a coat of final varnish.

The logic behind this is that retouch varnish is nothing more than final varnish diluted about 1 to 1 with solvent. Since retouch varnish is engineered to be applied over a touch-dry layer of paint during the actual painting process, it seems logical to me that applying it to the surface of your painting for the purpose of showing it, but then simply not bothering to paint on top of it, is not much different than using it as a true "retouch varnish"--except, of course that you are not painting upon it.

Since retouch varnish is engineered to be applied over a dry-to-the-touch layer of paint, it meets all the requirements of a "temporary varnish".

Lately I've been using GamVar, Gamblin's version of varnish. I dilute the final varnish about 1 to 3 with Gamsol solvent, to create retouch varnish. GamVar is a synthetic varnish, and is easily soluble in Gamsol solvent. I figure by doing that, my painting surface (whose painting medium has as an ingredient, Venice Turpentine, a resin) is much less susceptible to being dissolved when the synthetic varnish is removed in later years. Turpentine won't dissolve dried Linseed Oil, even if it's mixed with a resin, and for sure, mineral spirits (Gamsol) won't dissolve it

To be honest, I seldom use retouch varnish for what it's intended--retouching. But, I always use it as a temporary surface varnish for my oil paintings. I avoid varnish sprays, because I once nearly ruined a painting with the brown crap that came out of the nozzle--rust, or whatever it was, I'm not sure. I always apply it with a brush, and find that I have much more control of the thickness of the varnish than I would by using a spray can.

Bill

lisilk
08-28-2006, 05:36 PM
No no, Thank you Bill for the suburb tutorial, information and the visual treats at every stage.:clap: :clap:

Meisie
08-29-2006, 01:03 PM
Thank YOU Bill! :clap:

Meisie

artpaint
08-29-2006, 03:23 PM
Bill If you donot a a value scale with a .65 for the middle value,Then what would come close to it on a scale of 1-10 on a value finder or gray scale. Thank You also for a superb lesson.
Betty:clap: :clap:

Annapurna
08-29-2006, 05:17 PM
Dear kind Bill,

The orchids absolutely glow even here....I can imagine in real they are luminous. I would surely hang this on my wall and watch the paint dry with the joy of accomplishment!

On my part I thank you again. I have not been to art school, and it is
unlikely now, where I live, so to be able to have this quality of tuition in
my own home, given from the heart, means more to me than my words can sufficiently convey. I am deeply moved by your generosity.

A big warm hug to you from down-under.
Annapurna

Shadia
09-01-2006, 07:51 PM
Hi!
I'm late on this, but wow! I'll print it all on, and work on it! It's well timed, cause I began to try the grisaille technique this summer. :thumbsup: My deepest thanks Bill for the time you took to prepare and post the tutorial, which is so well done and presented! Do you do all your paintings that way, (landscapes also?)
Peace,
Shadia :wave:

bjs0704
09-01-2006, 10:57 PM
Shadia - I'm still working on my grisaille in the other thread, so when you are ready post it over there. We would love seeing it.

Barb Solomon:cat:

Amadan
09-08-2006, 11:03 AM
HI Bill, Thanks for your reply and apologies for not thanking you sooner. I couldn't get a reflective scale like the one you mentioned. I finally gave up looking and decided to make do. I printed a copy of a scales I found on the net and am using that now. I know it's probably not ideal but it's better than what I had before and how I painted...ie nothing and no real idea of tonal values. I started my grissaile and have it almost finished (well I think so!) I don't have it as smooth Bill as yours.....I didn't notice you mentioning that it should be smooth until I was half ways through....but I don't think it's too bad as the rough bits are for cliffs anyway, the sand is much smoother. I think I might have gone too dark with my grissaile....especially in sections of the sand, I did try to get a tone lighter so am not too sure.

I have a new question for you Bill which I'm not sure you'll be able to answer or not. I see that you mix up lots of different things to get your painting medium (items that would be impossible for me to get, me thinks) and items that had I to hand might be messed up and mixed in wrong quantities. I want to keep things simple for the moment. So my first question is. (1) Is it possible to do the next layers without a medium? Or would I be simply just covering up my grissaile and devoiding it of any use? (2) Are you familiar with Windsor & Newton Medium? I have a bottle of this. What do you think of using this? If I was to use this, do you think I should rub into the dried grissaile like you suggested and then paint over it?

I would love not to have to use any medium or very little (I know some paints can be very stiff) because they annoy the life out of my nose and make me feel sick.

Amadan
09-08-2006, 11:04 AM
Sorry I'm back again. I forgot to mention I also have Linseed oil.

idcrisis55
09-08-2006, 12:05 PM
Bill, I just received notice of new posts so must apologize for not responding earlier to your response of my questions. Thank you so much for the info on varnishing and of course, all the other information. I was wondering about the retouch varnish too, so now I know.

Again, thanks!
Ann

WFMartin
09-09-2006, 09:54 AM
HI Bill, Thanks for your reply and apologies for not thanking you sooner. I couldn't get a reflective scale like the one you mentioned. I finally gave up looking and decided to make do. I printed a copy of a scales I found on the net and am using that now. I know it's probably not ideal but it's better than what I had before and how I painted...ie nothing and no real idea of tonal values. I started my grissaile and have it almost finished (well I think so!) I don't have it as smooth Bill as yours.....I didn't notice you mentioning that it should be smooth until I was half ways through....but I don't think it's too bad as the rough bits are for cliffs anyway, the sand is much smoother. I think I might have gone too dark with my grissaile....especially in sections of the sand, I did try to get a tone lighter so am not too sure.

I have a new question for you Bill which I'm not sure you'll be able to answer or not. I see that you mix up lots of different things to get your painting medium (items that would be impossible for me to get, me thinks) and items that had I to hand might be messed up and mixed in wrong quantities. I want to keep things simple for the moment. So my first question is. (1) Is it possible to do the next layers without a medium? Or would I be simply just covering up my grissaile and devoiding it of any use? (2) Are you familiar with Windsor & Newton Medium? I have a bottle of this. What do you think of using this? If I was to use this, do you think I should rub into the dried grissaile like you suggested and then paint over it?

I would love not to have to use any medium or very little (I know some paints can be very stiff) because they annoy the life out of my nose and make me feel sick.


One can surely glaze without any medium, but depending upon the consistencies of the individual paints. Some paint colors, even within the same brand, are often stiffer than others, and may need a bit of "conditioning" with a medium.

I'm not sure what the Winsor & Newton medium is to which you refer. Perhaps Liquin? I personally do not care for it, but if a medium is required for conditioning a paint, it would surely be better than nothing. Just avoid interleaving layers of it with a traditional (drying oil--Linseed Oil, Stand Oil) medium. Instead, use it throughout the painting, to avoid any incompatibility issues.

Bill

WFMartin
09-09-2006, 12:19 PM
I just discovered a major mistake in my math in the opening description of tonal density on the first page of this workshop.

I'm surprised that some mathematician did not call me on it.

The definition I gave of density was correct, but I was incorrect in my example. The definition of density is: Density is the logarithm of the reciprocal of the reflectance.

However the example I gave is incorrect. A gray area that reflects 1/2 (one-half) the amount of the light than that of the white area is represented by the reciprocal of that 1/2 (one-half/one over two), which is 2/1 (two over one). That's the reciprocal of 1/2. So, 2 over 1, or two divided by one, is "2", and NOT .50 as I had stated.

The LOG OF 2 (and not the log of .50) is .30, or a density of .30.

Sorry. Just having a senior moment, I guess.:o :o

Bill

rosebard
09-09-2006, 12:57 PM
Hi Bill I am finally back online after few weeks without internet and took me sometime to get myself organized and back to my online routine. I have a canvas already tonned to draw. Just havent decided what I am going to use as reference. I have an orchid vase and I have being sketching it in pencil and oils from life. I was thinking of trying to use the graphite sketch instead of a photograph, but I am scared to do so and do not get the same quality. I took a bunch of pics and a new one in the branch is blooming. Working out the composition issue also. Hope to have mine sometime soon started.

Thanks for the wonderfull workshop and demo!!! :)

YOur painting is gourgeous!!! Just perfect as usual!!! :)

Annapurna
09-09-2006, 03:52 PM
I must have been born having a senior moment then Bill. :lol:

My head seriously never would get around that kind of math. My mind simply bogs, so I would be the last person who noticed a mistake!

A local printer had a grayscale he had printed out for himself, with
percentages on it... and he was happy to give me one. I think it'll do.

We'll see. Still trying to decide on my image.