Things I Learned as an Oil Painter: Thing #9

2 min read

Deviation Actions

maccski's avatar
By
5 Comments
758 Views
I can't believe I've already been doing this a month! There's still a pile of "things" to post. One of which I call thing #9:

High contrast creates interest and drama.

If you've looked through my work here on DA you'll notice that I'm not one for subtle colour or value shifts. I try to make bold visual statements and that requires me to paint with a wide range of values. That means I mix and use my darkest darks and sometimes I paint with pure white.

I haven't always painted like this - I used to be quite limited in my choice of values and the results were (in my opinion) OK. Just OK. Every now and then I would visit an art gallery looking for inspiration (see thing #8 maccski.deviantart.com/journal…) and be blown away by the power of the work. I thought about how my work would stand up against these awesome pieces and rapidly came to the conclusion that my paintings were pretty pale in comparison. Why? No drama. Not much interest. Nothing that would jump off the canvas and grab the viewer by the eyeballs (in the nicest possible way). I noticed that without a variation in values there was nothing for the eye to hook on to.  Once hooked the viewer can then take in the painting, following the path predetermined by the artist (that's another "thing").

Now I look for subjects that feature high contrast and I attempt to replicate that in my work.  It doesn't mean that everything is either super-dark or super-light, but that there are areas of extremes and areas in between. It's also more fun to paint this way...

Thing #1: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
Thing #2: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
Thing #3: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
Thing #4: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
Thing #5: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
Thing #6: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
Thing #7: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
Thing #8: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…

Why am I posting this stuff? maccski.deviantart.com/journal…

Take a look at my Facebook page...if you like it, please "Like" it! www.facebook.com/MontrealArtis…

Watch this space for thing #10...
Published:
© 2013 - 2021 maccski
Comments5
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
KanatSanat's avatar
For me the thing that pointed me towards contrast patterns was something about Notan. Still not habituated to thinking that way, but it's a major factor
line-melte's avatar
This is something incredibly important, and something I found out gets quite hard when all you have to work with is pure black and pure white - most of my work now is comic work ink.
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
im on board with that too but i do use some subtle value shifts with in my work. i all so use pure white i try and go for full natural affects good values are a hallmark of an accomplished artist. i often tell my students you can't paint in Pea soup meaning it cant be so bland as to give the viewer nothing to look at. i really don't get the hole fir of value thing many artist have when they first start painting. i have a technique for helping people to move beyond this i tell them to match the colors of a good high contrast photo by placing the photo in a plastic sleeve so they can dab the paint right on the photo really opens your eyes to the some times surprising colors you find the real world.
maccski's avatar
Paul, that plastic sleeve idea is great! I should try that. I find getting the colours right can be tricky...especially when you want to add your own spin to them.
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
im glad you like it. it actually teaches you to see color better and removes the influence of the surrounding colors. its how i learned about orange shadows you may ask what i'm talking about well in a dark seen were you have a spot light affect some times the shadows are orange but i never saw that until i started using the photo in the plastic sleeve technique i think its a kind of optical rap around of the light but i'm not sure the exact technical reasons for it happening. it all so showed me about the gray edges almost every thing has as well as a hole host of other affects like the light edges on mountains were they meet the sky that sort of thing after all painting is about understanding light and its affects right