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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Suddenly everyone is talking about "values". At least that was the subject of today's pastel class. In the art world, values refer to the gray scale. How dark or light is the hue? It's very common, when planning a painting of any kind, to first do a "value sketch", to determine where the darkest darks and lightest lights occur, as well as all the in-betweens. It's said that if you can get the values right the hues will take care of themselves.

So, today's classwork involved making three separate pastel drawings, using only black, white, and gray, on three different backgrounds - also black, white, and gray. Theoretically they should end up looking pretty much the same. On the black paper, the darkest value (the table) would be left alone. Similarly, on the white paper, the lightest areas would be left for the paper to show through. For the gray, we had to choose a "middle value" that would correspond to the paper. Not quite as easy as it sounds, but an excellent exercise.

The instructor couldn't be there, but she left instructions as to how the objects were to be arranged. We'll bring the finished products back next week for her to see and discuss. I have a few finishing touches to add.

Does anyone recognize that square object on the bottom - the one with the concave center? I grew up in a household where both parents were chain smokers; every horizontal surface held one of these giant ashtrays, and they were generally overflowing with ashes and used butts. Even non-smoking households would have ashtrays available for visitors. Ack! What were they thinking?

Speaking of value, I'm a latecomer, but a loyal convert to the "dollar store" phenomenon. Hoping that little tripod will be helpful for photographing my "art", once I figure out a system. And the sandpaper will be used as a "ground" for pastel practice (artists' archival sandpaper is in a realm of its own - too costly to practice on). The knives are for the garden - I'm always needing them for cutting roots, dividing tough perennials, opening bags of mulch.... and I buy those little plastic clips whenever I see them. Who can resist?


Blogger SuperMom said...

Ah yes, the dollar store phenomenon. They can get addicting.

BTW, I love all your posts showing what you're working on in your art classes. Not only do I love to see what you have created, but I also get some great ideas for things for Madeleine to try.

9:33 AM  
Blogger sukipoet said...

Love these three values pictures. Especially like the flower. Maybe flowers hold special resonance for you since you garden. I like to see art in process. Although these look pretty finished to me.

Dollar stores are fun. Havent been in one for awhile.

7:04 PM  

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