Last night I thanked Mark for persisting in telling us the value of doing color charts, as it has been so enlightening for me. He was going over values, as usual, and I explained how I really "saw" what he had been trying to drill into us. He then elaborated about how when doing a color chart you first mix your two colors together, put that as the darkest dark, and then take a tad of that mixed with white to get your lightest color, and from there your mid-value. If you start your painting the same way you build the color chart, you are already half-way there. From that point you go to the more subtle value shifts to give the object form and to finish up the row on your chart. AND that if you start to light, and try to go up your chart to the dark, you will never get there; and the one that I learned, if you start with the dark, and add half white each step down, you still only get to a mid-value and you will need to make a minimum of 10 steps to get to a light, which still will not be light enough! Value and color is where most artist mess up, which is why this is so important.
Mark really helped me last night as the pieces are starting to click into place. On the value study from last night, the circled part he said is what he wants to see from me from now on. That it has everything, darks, mediums and light. I also am doing better about getting the features in, even though I got the light on her face too dark. Her eyes are stronger, as I was able to pull from what I had learned doing the eye study and not get too detailed. He scrumbled in the background, that I had too light and was throwing me off. I am going back to look at the painting to be sure it can be "read" from a distance. What it looks like at the easel is not good enough.
Jane talked about a video of a demo she had watched and how the artist used a light gray palette but that he had a piece of white off to the side where he tested values before putting the paint on the canvas, which seems like a great compromise for those of us who are used to a tinted palette. My "neutral" gray, is too dark, so I do need to go to a lighter gray but having a paper palette, as Marie suggested sounds like a good start. I used my paper palette in class last night. Having "fun" is sure hard work!