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Old 04-13-2007, 09:43 AM
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LarrySeiler LarrySeiler is offline
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Re: Why is value so important?

anyone that paints outdoors...will fall in love with color. Anyone that tries to paint reacting to color outdoors will discover it is anything but easy. Even the word manageable doesn't do the challenge justice.

Edgar Payne taught that the light outdoors is 200 to 300 times more intense than what pigment can actually imitate. He also said that pigment can perhaps imitate 40 values, though the eye can see nearly 400...

with that...the artist has to compromise, and if one is willing to admit, starts painting with a deficit of that which pigment may do. In seeking help from the varied approaches possible, one wishes to avoid shooting oneself in the foot by ignoring what things brought to the table offer. That is...what strategies in values offer...strategies and complexities in color and so forth.

Then...one must come to terms that people viewing are moved aesthetically. There will always be those that will be accepting or appreciative of what is made...but depends if the artist is seeking "X" number of viewer's eye and so forth.

As one that has stepped away from a larger palette about two years, and paints now primarily with three primaries, white...and a couple other pigments at times (Naples Yellow and viridian)...I appreciate well how important adjacent area colors are in creating the atmosphere or influence to suggest a color mark may be something else. What I mean is...I can make a red feel like a different pigment produced it...by the kind of greens, blues and so forth that are surrounding it...etc.,

One of the problems in determining a debate or discussion on what is more important is where it comes down to the results. I agree in the example of the young woman sitting that the painting is interesting in conversion to gray values....but subjectively, it is not a painting that would stop me in my tracks and beg to study it at a museum.

That is not good or bad...that is individualistic subjectivism. However, as the individual studies such...it may be its lack of variation, may be thet "feeling" of what feels like life....and this will then lead to individual conclusions. A debate cannot really dictate what someone must like...but when one comes to analyze why one likes it...they will discover something about themselves. They may be more prone to be moved aesthetically to values...more to color...or to a balance.

The first example has its place in strategy...a high key painting where the light present is washing and bathing everything. It might be while looking toward the direction of the sun where glare makes it difficult to see into the shadows. This haze bathes everything....and yet...having set the parameters of the key...the effect to pull off must yet call for care to represent the values adequately. What will the darkest dark appear like (a call to consider that value property) under such conditions...

At the same time...it is absolutely impossible for any color to exist separate from a value inherenty. A color put down has its degree of how light or dark it is.

I do believe the girl with the cow in the high key painting is a beautiful painting. Well executed...and emotive.

However...having painted outdoors at such places in all kinds of light...the emotive beauty of this painting doesn't strike a chord with my experiential observation and painting times outdoors. Of course...what does that represent? Perhaps at best the experience of where I live here in northern Wisconsin. Perhaps in parts of France...it would appear thus.

Then comes the obvious...the subjectiveness of what do we mean by what is more important? For the sake of design? Do abstract works absolutely need value emphasis or color to be abstract works?

For myself...I spent near 17 years or so satisfied to believe and feel paintings worked and were realistic because they had incredible detail. After painting outdoors for over a decade since...the realistic paintings that moved me to awe and readiness to learn much from to strike me as trite, boring, stagnant and lacking life. They do not FEEL real...or have REAL'ness.

Its a growth thing...a direction one's aesthetic goes, very subjective.

I nearly think one has to discuss such within the parameters of a movement in painting. If one wished to paint thus and thus, similar to so and so...what would be more important...

...and under such parameters, one might well be able to say values have to be more important...to another color, etc.,

as for subjectivism goes....Klee's work does little to nothing for my aesthetic interests...

good stuff, Mike...glad you shared it..
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Last edited by LarrySeiler : 04-13-2007 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 04-13-2007, 10:18 AM
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LarrySeiler LarrySeiler is offline
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Re: Why is value so important?

as a side note addition...hoping I was clear in the last post.

If one looks at the works of Edgar Payne and Emile Gruppe as I have this past year and it speaks to you, if their paintings demonstrate a feeling of what you feel in observing the outdoors, you might well then study and read their ideas and teachings. One hears that the control of color and the dramatic important effects of color one may want comes of greater understanding of right values. (*note- one reads and hears many more things...such as how one color excites another, the simplicity and reasons while palette strategies work so well, a split-complementary palette for one...but both emhasize the great importance of values. Gruppe mentions that near any color strategy can be employed so long as values are good).

Thus...subjectively, if one's aims are to paint to attain similar results as Payne and Gruppe, what will develop is taking upon one's self their inclined assigning of things to remember as important. They had great use of color which the viewer responds to...but as Albert said, "the value of your colors will be important in determining the success of the composition"

In fact...Mike, as I look at the painting examples you gave...I cannot separate the inherent value those colors bear. Every color mixed has a value property to it. If those paintings work because of the colors (arguably) then it works because all of those colors traits involved were involved...including their inherent nature to possess a value.

I like the conversion to grayscale, and yes...we can see how similar or same the values are of those colors. What such conversion tells me most importantly (again could be subjective) is the degree to which VARIATION is or is not at work in the painting. The fact that those colors show the same value in grayscale does not necessarily tell me the success of using color for effect, but the failure to incorporate the level of variation that was possible. Again...that failure relates subjectively to what moves my aesthetics to what will define for me a better painting. That which feels more REAL'ness...and thus touches my emotions.

In fact...one might well start a thread and say that the most important thing in good paintings is VARIATION that yet holds to a UNIFYING CONTINUITY...and while many many authors of books on painting would agree with me, that yet would be subjective to what trips most's trigger aesthetically.

One needs a starting line everyone can agree upon to start a race before the starter's pistol fires. Is the starting line to paint like the old classic masters of the Renaissance or the Baroque period? Is it to paint like the Impressionists? The Barbizon painters? so on and so forth...

Every discussion if it is to go and eventually arrive somewhere, would benefit to have a starter's line for the runner's to line up with first. It might say..."for those in agreement that the Buck Country Impressionists or Cape Cod School of Art movement was the best imitation of nature's light...let us discuss what is most important in painting." To not have such a defined starter's line is like saying the most important thing for a painter is to have paint. So broad and obvious as to have no discussion at all...or worse, endless potentially heated debate.

One can hardly argue what is more important...values or color (?), unless one explains the direction they are wanting painting to go for themselves. In which case most would not have an argument, for how do you assert and prove what style aesthetically someone's heart should move to? We would only find ourselves able to encourage and agree to a point; the point where our aesthetic then differs.


Larry
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Last edited by LarrySeiler : 04-13-2007 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 04-13-2007, 10:27 AM
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Brandt Sponseller Brandt Sponseller is offline
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Re: Why is value so important?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
If one looks at the works of Edgar Payne and Emile Gruppe as I have this past year and it speaks to you
I don't dislike Payne and Gruppe at all, but they'd be nowhere near the top of the list of my favorite artists, either (as Klee would be for me, for example, and as would the other artists whose works I posted in this thread--Chagall, Picasso, Miro--and many others whose work I didn't post in this thread). Payne and Gruppe would be somewhere in the middle rosters of a complete list of artists for me (well, maybe lower middle, or lower-lower middle, the more I think about them, lol--but I still don't hate them).

But I'm not at all interested in trying to emulate particular things about the actual world in my work (like trying to capture the colors of the actual world, for example), and I'm not so attracted to that in the work of others, either. I can admire some of that realist (and photo-realist, etc.) stuff on a technical level, but it doesn't really do anything for me. I'd never buy something like that to hang up at home. Philosophically, I completely reject the notion (rooted in Plato initially) that (the best) art should attempt to mimic the real world, even though it will never attain that "perfection".

I agree that it's important to think about what one's aims are when they're thinking about this stuff, and I like to stress that some of us () have very different tastes and aims than is the norm in places like Wet Canvas.

Last edited by Brandt Sponseller : 04-13-2007 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 04-13-2007, 11:34 AM
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Celeste McCall Celeste McCall is offline
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Re: Why is value so important?

Excellent posts everyone!!!!
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Old 04-13-2007, 11:38 AM
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Re: Why is value so important?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandt Sponseller
I don't dislike Payne and Gruppe at all, but they'd be nowhere near the top of the list of my favorite artists, either (as Klee would be for me, for example, and as would the other artists whose works I posted in this thread--Chagall, Picasso, Miro--and many others whose work I didn't post in this thread). Payne and Gruppe would be somewhere in the middle rosters of a complete list of artists for me (well, maybe lower middle, or lower-lower middle, the more I think about them, lol--but I still don't hate them).


and see...intelligently and reasonably I should not be put off by your assessment of Payne and Gruppe. At best I only now better understand what trips your trigger...not what is more important. You serve to illustrate my point...

Quote:
Philosophically, I completely reject the notion (rooted in Plato initially) that (the best) art should attempt to mimic the real world, even though it will never attain that "perfection"

and again this points to the subjective nature of such discussions...as my philosophy may well differ from yours.

also...I was editing my last post perhaps at the time we were cross posting, so you know....and the last few paragraphs state better what I think about the starting line we really need to have proper discussions (where a finish line or arriving point is imagined) where attempting to state "what is more" important is concerned. Might clarify or add to my meanings.
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Last edited by LarrySeiler : 04-13-2007 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 04-16-2007, 02:41 PM
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Re: Why is value so important?

Hi Larry,

Just for clarification, my posted images were merely to demonstrate the powerful effects that color can create in a representational style. This included hue and intensity mimicking value. Applying aesthetic value to them would inevidably lead into the very personal question of "what is good art". As you have alluded to, its subjectivity leads to individual truths.

For everyone else, I received my copy of Vision and Art; the biology of seeing, by Margaret Livingstone. All of it regards perception/seeing, and functions. Much of her work overlaps many of the topics which are passionately debated on WC and other art forums. I highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in learning more about the complex action of seeing. Here are a few quotes from her book, chapter 4.

"I agree with Shearman (she is referenceing John Shearman's quote in her book on the ananlysis and interpretation of color in painting as being quasi mystic) that much of what has been written about color in art is nonsense...."

"In order to meaningfully discuss color in art- or anything else, for that matter- it is imperative to understand that color is important, even essential, in some areas of visual perception and completely irrelevant in others. Some aspects of visual perception- such as object recognition, face recognition, and, of course color perception,- depend heavily on color, and other apsects of vision-such as motion perception, depth perception, figure/ground segregation, and perceiving positional information- are colorblind."

maybe we can quit comparing apples to oranges :P

mike

(also, thanks Celeste for the book recommendation, this is a must have for any foundations person as it clears up a once foggy and alchemic subject, i am truly grateful!)

Last edited by MikeN : 04-16-2007 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:51 PM
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LarrySeiler LarrySeiler is offline
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Re: Why is value so important?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeN
"I agree with Shearman (she is referenceing John Shearman's quote in her book on the ananlysis and interpretation of color in painting as being quasi mystic) that much of what has been written about color in art is nonsense...."

maybe we can quit comparing apples to oranges :P



speaking only for myself...if thinking in a way one is thinking about color and other aspects of painting leads to the art one has aimed for and is satisfied in making, then it would certainly not be nonsense. In other words...the basic of physics in it works...because it works.

It strikes any artist to the level of ridiculousness to be told what they are and have been doing for years that indeed works (as is evidenced by their body of work) can't possibly work. Which in that case would make them a miracle worker I suppose...

Not disavowing what the book you picked up teaches, Mike...as I have not read it myself...I'm simply responding to the suggestion that something held by artists must be nonsense because an individual insists it to be so. I've had more than my share of artists here at Wetcanvas insist what is not possible with a limited palette (for example), including the pulling off of a good painting. Some insist it is not possible to paint with acrylics with water as the medium alone...on and on. Still others that insist anything less than the best most expensive brushes cannot result in good paintings.

I look at the body of an artist's work. If their work is working...then something they are doing is working logically. Perhaps they are deluded in their thinking as concerns color...but it must be a good delusion apparently!!

take care, Mike..
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Last edited by LarrySeiler : 04-16-2007 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:04 PM
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Re: Why is value so important?

Hey Larry,

I can appreciate your opinion on that and agree from my own personal experience. I think what they may be referring to is the education of these ideas and their presentation in academia.

For example I have about 8-10 new updated design and color theory books on my shelf in my office, most of which I acquired through publishers as samples this year. All of these were published for use as aides in teaching design and/or color theory in the art classroom, (specifically universities). Of this number all but two books describe the effects of simultaneous contrast as being connected to the SUBTRATIVE color system. For example, a grey square on a yellow background appears more purple etc. There are two however which state the use of the ADDITIVE color system. They would state that a grey square on a yellow background appears more blue.

The differences are very small (complement of yellow as purple vs ultramarine blue), and may have little to do with the success of the design. However, they are in contradiction to each other. It bugs me that both are presented as scientific fact, so I can imagine how a scientist in this feild feels. Likewise the idea that subtractive complements are the most contrasting to the eye is also very disputable and incorrect although widely published in design, art appreciation and art history books. These ideas are ilfounded. They confusedly elevate a subtractive color wheel, which is a man made invention, over the anatomy of the human eye and mind (red,green,blue cones). These books are sold to university students as fact and have been unquestioned by hoards of university professors forever. The sad thing is, most if not all of them were written by artists. The emphasis in their books, however, is not on process which is probably a more true area of their expertise. One of my favorite culprites is Design Basics by David Lauer. Lots of good info but also some that is scientifically inaccurate at best.

IMO, she, and Shearman are referring to these art academics who preach unsubstatiated "science talk" in their analysis of art, not the artists' particular processes in making art. In truth, from what I have read so far, she holds artists in very high regard. The book is full of examples of artists who seemed to know, or stated very contemporary things about color and perception through their own observations.

Anyway hope this clears it up. Ill let you know if my opinion still holds up after I read the entire book.

Last edited by MikeN : 04-16-2007 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:14 PM
MikeN MikeN is offline
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Re: Why is value so important?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
I look at the body of an artist's work. If their work is working...then something they are doing is working logically. Perhaps they are deluded in their thinking as concerns color...but it must be a good delusion apparently!!

take care, Mike..

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Old 04-16-2007, 05:57 PM
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Re: Why is value so important?

There are times, usually when following threads on color and/or composition, that I am absolutely convinced that the "suffering" part of the phrase, "suffering artist," truly refers to "suffering" the opinions of artist, in general.

That's the main reason I adamantly refuse to even enter any of the "debate" sections of the Forums, such as the Cafe' Guerbois!

And then of course, there are times (like now,) that such discussions help me to come to a better understanding of complex subjects, like now.

Mike S.
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:45 PM
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Re: Why is value so important?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandt Sponseller
Here's another example from one of my favorite artists, Paul Klee. In this work, Theater-Mountain-Construction, from 1920, it appears to be the case that line alone, using a non-traditional concatenation of differing perspectives, provides complex depth relationships, with color functioning in an apparently arbitrary way that we might think initially fights against the illusion. But if you look closer, the coloring subtly enhances the depth provided by line through the way that planes are colored and through the style and direction of the brushwork on those planes. This is a case where color alone wouldn't provide the illusion at all, but neither would line alone--at least not as strongly. It's a subtle combination of the two.

Although there certainly are different values here, the values are not in any way correlated to the depth illusion.



Brandt,

Thanks for posting this. I scanned past it earlier and have just now taken the time to soak it in. Its a wonderful piece.

mike
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:23 PM
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Re: Why is value so important?

Thought it was time to kick an old dead horse

This illusion deals with facial expressions specifically. In the illusion, distance dictates which emotion we see on the subject. If we are focused on the subject up close we use detail (clarity) to decipher the emotion. From greater distances where details are unavalible, value takes over and in this case, inverts their expressions.

Up close in focus.



Waaaay back out of focus.


Margaret Livingstone discusses something very similiar to this with Mona Lisa's smile. She talks about stories in which viewers claim the Mona Lisa smirked at them when they turn to look away. Im guessing it has to do with lack of detail in the viewer's peripheal vision. In which case, value reveals a more upward curved smile. The cover of her book shows this exact thing.


Last edited by MikeN : 05-25-2007 at 03:14 PM.

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