Another day another Venice scene. Starting with a value sketch and concentrating on getting the mid values right seems to be paying off.
Today started with a couple of value studies of Venice scenes. Went in first with the mid values and simplified the shapes as much as possible. I was first intending to do the first one as a full painting but in the end plumped for the second one.
It was a trial. I simplified things further by doing the whole thing in grayscale to avoid getting distracted by color and was very glad I did.
First the drawing. Sketchier than I would usually do but took care to keep the verticals and horizontals as they should be.
Next the mid values in large shapes. I was getting a little discouraged at this point. The main buildings weren’t hanging together as well as I’d like and disaster was looming. However, I ploughed on and after the darks and some lighter value detail on the building I grabbed it back from the jaws of defeat.
Not one of my best but not too bad either. A little too sketchy in places but maybe worth another go.
Every now and again I torture myself and try and get some insight into Joseph Zbukvic’s technique. I’ve had an inspirational printout of one of his wonderful Venice paintings on my wall for a while and I foolishly wondered if I could learn anything from trying a copy.
Now I wouldn’t recommend this if your ego is not built on rock solid foundations. I’ve tried before with varying degrees of success and didn’t really come away with any lessons learned. This time I made a little headway.
Firstly his values are surprisingly close together. The scene above (his is the bottom one of course) looks as though it has very dramatic value changes but actually they’re almost all about 3 steps apart. The sky especially near the horizon darkens significantly and helps to tie everything together.
Secondly his ‘colors’ are REALLY close to gray. Low chroma in other words. I got the Munsell chips out and had to go to my ‘nearly neutrals’ section to even come close to matching them. It’s really easy to slop far too much bright color in there even when you think you haven’t.
Once I’d got to grips with both those things I didn’t fair too badly. I till could have compressed my value range even more but on the whole this was one of my better attempts.
Here is a preliminary sketch I did before the bigger one.
This was definitely worth doing. Gave me confidence that at least my values were in the right ballpark.
Wasn’t really feeling it for this one. Let’s hope I can pull something out of the bag for tomorrow’s class. In any case it was good practice for value studies.