Thursday, November 14, 2013

Design sketches make winning paintings!

I just realized that I forgot to post that I had won second place award at the Northstar Watercolor Society Fall Show, for my painting, "Sailing Through Life". I truly believe that if I hadn't taken the time for a value and color sketch, this painting would not have turned out as well.  I'd like to talk a little bit about the importance of a plan as we paint. Whether you're the type of artist who flies by the seat of their pants, or one who likes a plan beforehand, SOMETIME during that painting, you need to stop and make a plan!  I'm the type who likes to have the plan to start with; but I have been known to start very free and wild, and then, 3/4 of the way through the painting, I will make a value sketch where either my medium or light values connect.  Plus I try to combine shapes, so that I have as few shapes as possible, making for a stronger painting.  I really LOVE making color sketches, using Tombow markers in my little 6" x 6" sketchbook.  Another trick that I use is to take a photo of my painting, then copy and paste it into Microsoft Word.  Then click in the middle of the photo, and pick Format.  Then pick the black and white version of that photo.  This isn't a gray scale.  It's where the values below a value 4 become white and those above a value 6 become black.  This truly shows where you might need to combine shapes, or simplify busy shapes. It also spells out whether your painting is balanced.  I love using the computer as a "spell check" for values.  What ever did I do before all the wonderful technology?

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