One of the things I started doing regularly before painting (upon recommendation of every artist book I am reading) is a value study. They are really helping me to stay conscious of the light areas and the dark areas. They are like little maps to look at when you think you might get lost in the painting process. The first one I did was for this peony painting, 10X12. They don't have to be involved drawing. Little thumbnails work.
For this last painting that I was working on, I did the drawing first, then created a tissue overlay for the value study. I really liked how this worked out because it was easy to change the values if I didn't like them. Once I had the values thought out, I was able to begin painting right away because the drawing was already done.
I also liked the study being the actual size of the painting as it allowed me to look at it from a distance. Standing back and looking at my paintings from a distance is a really important to part of my painting process. To see the values from a distance before I even started the painting was really helpful.
This is the painting I was working on during my last post. (I got one coat of primer done on my fireplace as well.)
I finished this morning. I will post it here. I am calling this painting Granite Rock. I used a reference photo from one of our trips to Vermont. One of our favorite things to do is hike, which we often do it in Maine or Vermont.
I was trying to capture the feeling of depth into the woods. I was also trying to capture that cool tranquil feeling only to be had from a walk through the woods, listening to the quiet sound of a lazy stream of water running through the rocks. This painting is 10X14.