Mass Drawing

I finished up my mass drawing in oil tonight. I learned a few things tonight that I shall try and describe.

I will get right to the point with this post because I feel if I take too long I will forget what I’m thinking about. I really need to have my notebook handy when I work so I can take notes on my thoughts.

  • Painting white into darker colors is easier than painting darker colors into white. In this instance the titanium white will totally dominate the raw umber in tinting strength.
  • A dark color scumbled onto the canvas thinly will reduce glare.
  • Work background to foreground.
  • Fussing with paint too much and value transitions makes any surface look fuzzy, overly modeled, and fake. I don’t have any other way that I think I can describe it.
  • Focus more on surface plains and their value transitions rather than trying to match a gradient perfectly.
  • Always condense the value scale, paint cannot achieve your lightest light or your darkest dark.
  • Don’t try and save an edge by painting along it, this will achieve a brush stroke similar to an outline around the form and ultimately bring that background forward and noticeable. Paint across the edge, or loose the edge if the values are real close. I the case that the edge of a foreground object is very hard against the background, paint the foreground object last and get the edge stroke right the first time, don’t fuss with it.
  • When painting monochromatic use a brush with no paint to pull up color off the canvas and lighten it by using the lighter surface beneath the paint.
  • If you have two values that meet and the edge that is made is slightly soft, paint the colors up to each other with a hard edge then carefully draw a dry brush along the edge to soften it slightly. This has to be done very carefully any jitters in the brush stroke will wobble the edge.
  • Look out for reflected light in shadows, they will look lighter than they actually are. An interesting phenomenon described by Richard Schmid in his book Alla Prima, if you stare long enough into a shadow your eyes will dilate slightly letting in more light allowing you to see many more values than you should paint in a shadow, always squint your eyes when comparing values.

The Painting


Here I started into the painting by adding the darkest dark of the background, and the value transitions upon the sheet. I proceeded to do the same with the base, then the cone, the cylinder and lastly the most foreground element, the sphere.

The Setup


Value Comparison


The reflected light on the cylinder is too dark, and needs to be just a small bit lighter. I also should have extended the shadow on the cone further up closer to its top point. The biggest value issue though is the base below everything is much too dark.

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