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View Full Version : Shades of Gray --- Jamie's Monochrome Value Studies in Acrylic


JamieWG
07-23-2010, 11:10 AM
Value studies are such a drag, but so important. I decided to make it easier to do by arranging a setup that was quick and fun. I purchased all the Munsell Value Neutral Grays by Golden, and set them out in a sealed plastic container, along with black and white to complete the set. No palette is necessary because the values are all premixed. I can just open the container and start painting.

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I bought a watercolor journal and titled it for these acrylic studies. It's about 9x7. I kind of wish I'd gotten a landscape format instead, but I guess I'll just turn it on its side for landscapes.
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Page 1 --- Cow was done from a photo and the little landscape was plein air
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Page 2 --- Plein air, done upstate from my patio. Image is a little more contrasty than the painting. I'll have to start shooting these with my Nikon instead of the little point and shoot that I'm so attached to!
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Jamie

Whisperwood
07-23-2010, 11:24 AM
Wow I love these! Really going to enjoy this thread! I'm not an acrylic painter at all but love to see pictures others have done. Wonderful start!

JamieWG
07-23-2010, 11:38 AM
Rachel, thanks! I'm glad you can see them, because for me the images are just showing up as question marks inside little boxes. Very frustrating!

Even though I'm a color junkie at heart, I think I'm going to enjoy working with this setup. It's so easy to just open it up and start painting, and it makes me think more about not only value, but brushwork too.

Jamie

Whisperwood
07-23-2010, 11:40 AM
well they seem to be coming through great this end! Keep going :-)

mhimeswc
07-23-2010, 12:10 PM
I like the title of this sketchbook! Great idea for studying value - something we all could use some practice with. Excellent sketches so far.

Yorky
07-23-2010, 02:29 PM
What a great idea Jamie.

Doug

Vivien Maloney
07-23-2010, 03:01 PM
Great idea Jamie! Getting the values correct is one of the basics of painting and so many people don't get it right. But your value sketches are excellent. Love the cow.

JamieWG
07-23-2010, 06:58 PM
Michelle, Doug and Viv, thanks so much. I think it's like practicing scales for classical musicians --- just one of those "gotta do it" things that comes with the territory of being an artist!

Jamie

robertsloan2
07-23-2010, 09:04 PM
Jamie, these are great! What a cool setup for value studies. The landscapes are gorgeous. I don't know if it's something in the photography, but some of the grays seem a little warm leaning toward pinkish while others seem cool and bluish. Are these grays actually neutral and just tinted by some camera effect, or do you have warm and cool grays in the set?

JamieWG
07-23-2010, 09:10 PM
Robert, these Golden Neutral Grays are designed to be neutral. They are mixed with brown to avoid that ultra-coolness of the black/white mixes. However, it seems that when used thinly as a wash, you get that nice warm color of the brown showing, more than when you use the paint in an opaque fashion. So, although they were meant to be dead neutral, I find that with my technique, the are not. I love that about them though! The hint of warm color I find makes it much more interesting to work with.

Jamie

DrDebby
07-23-2010, 09:41 PM
Very cool idea. Just like a musician and their scales, something we all need to practice. But, a wonderful way to do so. The cow is really something. Your landscapes don't look neutral as much as dusk.

JamieWG
07-23-2010, 09:56 PM
Thanks so much, Debby. Hope to do more soon. I really want to keep these value studies going for a few months or until I finish this book---whichever comes first!!!

Jamie

jacquip
07-23-2010, 11:23 PM
Jamie great idea and work. What a great kit, no mixing... yeah. Love the cow and the landscape. Amazing the variety you can get with just greys.

virgo68
07-24-2010, 04:15 AM
Jamie, I like that landscape - very atmospheric...

JamieWG
07-24-2010, 08:06 AM
Jacqui, initially I was going to do these in oils. However, that involves using my panels or unstretched canvas that I have to cut and tape to boards. It is so much simpler to do them in acrylic. The paper support is a lot less expensive and such a timesaver. As a bonus, I get to have all the studies together in a book.

Jamie

JamieWG
07-24-2010, 08:07 AM
Jackie, thanks so much. I hope to do more over the weekend. :)

Jamie

Jakesgram
07-24-2010, 10:33 AM
Jamie - what a super idea! Being a "warm" person myself, I also love the warm pinky-brown undertone, especially in the last one. You paint so beautifully in acrylic. I love the paintings and I love your idea.

Jean

JamieWG
07-29-2010, 07:05 PM
Another addition today....Painted plein air under the shade of my favorite tree, with a cool breeze blowing.

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Jamie

virgo68
07-29-2010, 07:33 PM
Love tonal work....... sometimes colour distracts me too much! These remind me of night time when there is a brilliant full moon that lights everything up. I know you painted them in the day time, it is just a feeling that the cooler greys give me :)

Davkin
07-30-2010, 01:17 PM
Jamie, I don't know how I missed this! Oh wait, I know, I was offline for a few days during my move. :lol: These value studies are great, wonderful little pieces of art all on their own. BTW, I checked out your blog. You have great ideas for making your own inexpensive, lightweight pochade box. I think I'll give it a try tonight. Going on a hike tomorrow and a foam core pochade is just what my back ordered!

David

JamieWG
07-30-2010, 02:24 PM
Jamie, I don't know how I missed this! Oh wait, I know, I was offline for a few days during my move. :lol: These value studies are great, wonderful little pieces of art all on their own. BTW, I checked out your blog. You have great ideas for making your own inexpensive, lightweight pochade box. I think I'll give it a try tonight. Going on a hike tomorrow and a foam core pochade is just what my back ordered!

David

David, hope I catch you in time....I am onto something even better for the pochade boxes. I bought some coroplast (corrugated plastic) instead of the foamcore. My first box with it is still in progress, but I think it will be a far better solution than the foamcore. It's just as lightweight, but it's waterproof. That saves you the trouble of having to coat it with some kind of waterproofing material, and I think in the long run the coroplast will hold up better. I'm using some kind of Elmers super-glue with it, which seems to be working pretty well. I clamp till dry, then also use duct tape for extra strength.

Thanks so much for your comments on the value studies! One of the things I want to make is a little coroplast box that's just big enough to hold my container of paints and support my sketchbook.

Jamie

JamieWG
07-30-2010, 02:25 PM
Love tonal work....... sometimes colour distracts me too much! These remind me of night time when there is a brilliant full moon that lights everything up. I know you painted them in the day time, it is just a feeling that the cooler greys give me :)

Jackie, thank you very much for looking in and commenting!

Jamie

Davkin
07-30-2010, 02:57 PM
Where are you buying Coroplast? I'm thinking of hitting Hobby Lobby on the way home, I don't know if they'll have that though.

BTW, a glue you might like better than Elmer's is "Pacer 560 Canopy Glue". You'll only find that at hobby shops though, but it's stronger and sets a lot faster. Either way you'll still need to protect the joints from water since neither glue is waterproof. Have you tried just using a hot glue gun?

David

JamieWG
07-30-2010, 03:54 PM
David, wow, I love the hot glue gun idea! No, I haven't tried that. If you do, please let me know how it goes. I'll look for that Pacer 560 Glue. Thank you.

Here is where I got the coroplast:
http://www.beacongraphics.com/supplies/coroplast.html

I got a coroplast cutter from them too. I think I ordered 10, 18x24" sheets, in black.

Jamie

Davkin
07-30-2010, 04:10 PM
I'll have to try foam core first. Coroplast looks like something I'll either have to chase around for or mail order.

I'd think hot glue would work well, just maybe messier. The big advantage is assembly would be much, much quicker, I think the joints would be stronger too, and they'd definately be water proof. I'll give it a try tonight if I can figure out which box my hot glue gun is buried in. :lol:

One of the great things about your pochade box idea is that even if the box gets beat up it's no big deal since they are so cheap and easy to build.

David

Davkin
07-31-2010, 01:25 AM
I built my first pochade box. I did it in less than two hours so it's quite crude. It's on the small side too only about 9x7 inside, but I won't be using it to support my work since I work from sketchbooks for now. No hinge either, just a separate cover that's held on with rubber bands, (though the fit is so tight I'm not sure they are necessary) What I did do was install a tripod mount. I just took some 1/4" thick wood, (pine I think, bought from Hobby Lobby I think) and cut it to 4" x 3". I then drilled a 5/16" hole in the center and installed a 1/4-20 T nut I bought from Lowes. The T nut comes with three holes in it for some brad nails, I installed the brads and bent them over the other side. Then I covered the top side with 560 Canopy glue, (though any good wood glue would work). I set the box upside down and glued the tripod mount to that, I put a heavy book on top of it was well while it was setting up. After the glue set up I then ran a bead of glue around the edge from my hot glue gun. I assembled the whole box with the hot glue gun. I then covered the whole thing with duct tape! :lol: It's ugly but I'm pretty sure it will work good. After I've had some experience with this one I'll design a new one and take time to build it nicer.

Thanks a bunch for showing your pochade box ideas on your blog Jamie!

David

JamieWG
07-31-2010, 06:30 AM
I built my first pochade box. I did it in less than two hours so it's quite crude. It's on the small side too only about 9x7 inside, but I won't be using it to support my work since I work from sketchbooks for now. No hinge either, just a separate cover that's held on with rubber bands, (though the fit is so tight I'm not sure they are necessary) What I did do was install a tripod mount. I just took some 1/4" thick wood, (pine I think, bought from Hobby Lobby I think) and cut it to 4" x 3". I then drilled a 5/16" hole in the center and installed a 1/4-20 T nut I bought from Lowes. The T nut comes with three holes in it for some brad nails, I installed the brads and bent them over the other side. Then I covered the top side with 560 Canopy glue, (though any good wood glue would work). I set the box upside down and glued the tripod mount to that, I put a heavy book on top of it was well while it was setting up. After the glue set up I then ran a bead of glue around the edge from my hot glue gun. I assembled the whole box with the hot glue gun. I then covered the whole thing with duct tape! :lol: It's ugly but I'm pretty sure it will work good. After I've had some experience with this one I'll design a new one and take time to build it nicer.

Thanks a bunch for showing your pochade box ideas on your blog Jamie!

David

David, I'd love to see pics, especially of the mount. I'm sure the folks in the Plein Air forum would also love to see your box. If you do post a thread about it, please put a link here so I won't miss it!

Jamie

Aiylah
07-31-2010, 11:16 AM
Alas, I can't see the pictures in the first post :( Shame, because the idea sounds great and I've also tried painting in greyscale/black and white, which I enjoyed. I can see your recent painting though, it looks great! I hope I will be able to see more :D

Davkin
07-31-2010, 04:12 PM
Jamie,

Here's a pic of the setup as I used it this morning. All this and more fit inside my backpack. I don't think more photos would be helpful, it's really basic. The only unique feature would be the tripod mount but it's covered in duct tape so a photo would be no help there either. Anyway, it stood up to 3 miles of hiking no problem! Thanks a bunch for your idea!

David

robertsloan2
07-31-2010, 04:47 PM
Jamie, your latest monochrome painting is gorgeous. I love that scene, it draws me right in. These value paintings are spectacular and the slight warm or cool cast in some values gives them a lively look.

Thanks for posting the link to the coroplast site. That looks like a really interesting material - durable, waterproof, lightweight. It might make a good drawing board too, layering two or three of the sheets together and taping them so that they're thick enough to hold push pins. I would've liked to see a clear color, but they have black so that'll be cool.

David, your foam core pochade box is great. Very cool plein air setup. Three mile hikes ... I'm envious, if I did three blocks I'd collapse.

JamieWG
07-31-2010, 05:07 PM
Alas, I can't see the pictures in the first post :( Shame, because the idea sounds great and I've also tried painting in greyscale/black and white, which I enjoyed. I can see your recent painting though, it looks great! I hope I will be able to see more :D

Aiylah, I don't know why that photo problem happens. It happened to me too when I first loaded them. Then I signed off and back on again and I could see them. Perhaps that would work for you too. I'm glad you can at least see the last one I did, and hopefully the ones to come!

Jamie

JamieWG
07-31-2010, 05:15 PM
Jamie,

Here's a pic of the setup as I used it this morning. All this and more fit inside my backpack. I don't think more photos would be helpful, it's really basic. The only unique feature would be the tripod mount but it's covered in duct tape so a photo would be no help there either. Anyway, it stood up to 3 miles of hiking no problem! Thanks a bunch for your idea!

David

David, thank you for sharing your setup. Are those acrylics you're using? Are you trying to keep the containers level in your backpack, and if so, how's that working? Or since they have complete seals, do you put them in sideways? I think putting a tripod mount on my next box may be a good idea. I do a lot of long hikes like that with painting gear too, which is why I had to come up with a lighter solution than what I had!

Are you using the box as a palette, or just something to hold your stuff? It occurs to me looking at your setup that you could just put a tripod mount on the bottom of that that plastic palette/paint holder and not have to even bring the box!

Jamie

JamieWG
07-31-2010, 05:23 PM
Jamie, your latest monochrome painting is gorgeous. I love that scene, it draws me right in. These value paintings are spectacular and the slight warm or cool cast in some values gives them a lively look.

Thanks for posting the link to the coroplast site. That looks like a really interesting material - durable, waterproof, lightweight. It might make a good drawing board too, layering two or three of the sheets together and taping them so that they're thick enough to hold push pins. I would've liked to see a clear color, but they have black so that'll be cool.
.


Robert, thanks so much. It's my favorite of the monochromes so far. Maybe I'm getting better at this!

Coroplast is great, but like corrugated cardboard, it has ridges. That might make it less than ideal as a drawing board unless the paper is very heavy or you have something else to back it with. It's quite inexpensive, so well worth experimenting with! I find it very versatile. It's good as a board for taping watercolor paper down, and I've used it a lot for smaller (quarter sheet) watercolor paintings.

Jamie

Davkin
07-31-2010, 05:30 PM
Are those acrylics you're using?

No, they are guoache but I do intend to get into acrylics. That reminds me of a question I wanted to ask you. How do you keep your brushes clean? More than with any other paint getting the brushes throroughly cleaned out when your done is critical. Or do you maybe apply something to the brushes that allows you to wait until you get home to clean them?

Are you trying to keep the containers level in your backpack,

No, the containers hold the paint in quite well. They don't not appear to be quite air tight though as the paints seemed to be slightly less moist than they were when I put them in last night, but that may be a misperception.

Are you using the box as a palette, or just something to hold your stuff?

Just as a box to hold my stuff at this point, but I do leave the palette in the box while painting, that's the whole reason for the tripod.

It occurs to me looking at your setup that you could just put a tripod mount on the bottom of that that plastic palette/paint holder and not have to even bring the box

That didn't occur to me! :lol: It's still nice to have a box to keep everything in. Without the box I'd still need a bag or something to keep the jars from getting loose, and if they did I'd imagine it's quite likely a lid or two would work their way off. Being all packed tight in the box keep everything from moving around too much. I used a few sheets of paper towel to take up any gaps, you need the paper towels anyway.

One improvement I'll make is to make a brush pouch that can be velcroe'd to the side of the box.

David

DrDebby
07-31-2010, 10:43 PM
The painting of your favorite tree is just great. Very nice value study.

JamieWG
08-09-2010, 02:59 PM
I was out sketching with my friend, Karen....I did this one in monochrome, and another in color, which is in another journal (http://wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9116681#post9116681).

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Aug-2010/13766-100807_SOG_4_450.jpg

Jamie

DrDebby
08-09-2010, 07:55 PM
I like this one. The road has interesting curves to it. You've done a brilliant job on the foliage.

virgo68
08-09-2010, 07:56 PM
It is interesting to see the similar scene in monochrome and colour. I like both for very different reasons obviously - these monochrome versions are very mysterious and eerie - in a good way!

jacquip
08-09-2010, 08:50 PM
Great work on these last 2 monochromes. They are both wonderful. The monochrome greys have a great feel to them. Very mysterious and intriguing, I love it. They are so "warm" as well. I look forward to seeing more.

JamieWG
08-09-2010, 08:58 PM
Debbie, Jackie, and Jacqui, many thanks for your kind comments. The curves in the road and fence lines were definitely what drew me to this scene! The barns that I painted in color were up the hill to the left, painted from the same spot.

Jacqui, these Golden Neutral Gray mixes do have a great, warm feel to them. They are supposedly dead neutral; I think we get so used to seeing monochrome paintings done with the cold look of ivory black and titanium white that it makes these more neutral tones look warm! Anyway, I am loving working with the premixed shades.

Jamie

robertsloan2
08-10-2010, 12:08 AM
This scene is so tranquil and relaxing. The road draws me in and I can just hear the lazy drone of insects, the occasional bird songs and odd sounds of a quiet rural area. Wonderful painting. I'd love to see you build on this in color, develop this scene some more.

JTMB
08-10-2010, 02:50 AM
Excellent idea for this journal and a great job on the plein air value studies!

rmcbuckeye
08-10-2010, 08:18 AM
Love your value studies!

JamieWG
08-10-2010, 08:42 AM
Robert, John and Rachel, thank you all so much! I don't think I'll be doing a color version of this particular scene, but you never know....Perhaps in the fall it will inspire me more. :)

Jamie