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Good painting relies on being able to see color and value accurately. If you are confused about how to do this, hopefully ...
this will clear things up a bit...
Tags:Painting Lesson - Seeing Color & Value,color and value accurately,painting lesson,color,colour,lesson,painting
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Good painting relies on you being able to see color and value accurately. There’s a bit of debate about what are the best methods to do this, so if you’re a bit confused about this, here’s my take on it to hopefully clear things up a bit. There are a few problems with seeing value and color, the first is that we see too much distracting detail with our normal vision, so what we need to be seeing is the larger areas of value. So to knock out the detail we can either squint, or we can defocus our eyes. Both of which cause our vision to blur a little bit reducing the detail and giving you a much simpler image. If you’re painting in public, try not to worry about how silly you look squinting and going crossed eyed. If you look less stupid than this then you’re doing okay. I found that squinting is suitable for analyzing value but not color. The reason being that, when you squint, you’re looking through the dark filter of your eye lashes and these both darkens the color and dissaturates them to, making them less vibrant. So for this reason, I find it better to use the defocusing technique when analyzing color. And to defocus my eyes I just go very slightly cross eyed. So, if you need help doing it, just hold your finger out one foot in front of your face and focus on that, then you take your finger away and try to keep your eyes focus in the same area and space in front of you. Now see how the background goes a little blurry, that’s defocusing. It can take some practice ‘til it comes natural. So when you’ve got that right, you can see large areas of color which I’m confused by the small details. Then it’s a matter of judging one color against another. But it’s always best to compare similar colors, for example, what’s the color of the sky here compared to the sky here. Is it warmer or cooler? Sure it’s blue, but, does it have more green in it or more red in it? Is it more saturated or less saturated? Now, it’s notoriously difficult to compare colors without separating them from their surroundings as you’ll see in this cube picture. Would you believe that the colors behind A and B are the same? Oh, they actually are, it’s crazy isn’t it? The reason we have trouble seeing that properly is because of the surrounding colors. So when we’re comparing colors in the scene, we need to have a method of isolating colors from their surrounding colors. To do that, you can make your own gray card with holes in it, or you can purchase my Ultimate Painter’s Tool from livepaintinglessons.com, and use that. So you just put that tool in front of the colors you’re trying to compare and it makes it a whole lot easier. So that takes care of the hue and chroma of your color but not the value. To start seeing value clearly, you can squint at your subject, which as I said before, take some of the saturation off or chroma out of color, bringing it closer to gray. And it takes out the confusing detail at the same time. Now again, we have trouble seeing value correctly because of its surrounding values. As you can see in this guard grid, A is actually the same value as B, so we need to isolate values to compare them, which means using the same tools before and then squinting as you compare the values. And again as with color you need to compare similar values so that you can make any sort of meaningful judgment. So there you go, that’s how you see and compare colors and values properly, very important for good painting. Now, mixing color is a whole another ball game, and you can see how that’s done in my other lessons at livepaintinglessons.com, ‘til next time, I’m Richard Robinson, happy painting.