By the Water


I am taking an online watercolor class, and I am sort of this way, that way about it. There is feedback and some great videos, but I find that I like to have a more personal contact than such. Another online class I am taking has weekly Zoom meetings and even though we aren’t all yacking with the instructor, it is more personal.

Anyway, despite what I would like to see different, there is a lot of value in pursuing online learning. To a degree, you have to motivate yourself. You have to have the discipline to do it. One thing that I do find especially hard in all my classes is the making of value studies – oh, how I hate them! I don’t have them as part of my routine when it comes to painting, and the discipline of doing them is what I hate. I expect that doing them will pay off in the future – but it may be a bit down the road as I force myself to do them without appreciating what I know they are supposed to provide.

Above, a study from a photo in my watercolor class. Below is the first value study showing the midtones

All the white area is supposed to be sky and the lightest areas of the picture. The grey is the middle value. These are used to help shape the painting before refinement with darks and details. Below is my dark-added value study.

I actually really think this idea of doing middle values for the first step of a value study is a good idea. Do these values first, paint your lights and mid values in color, and then move on to the darker ones in the value study and the final painting. Doing this is very nice, really, because the dark values and details get distracting.

Like I said, this is a thing I am not enjoying doing but know it is probably going to reap bigger rewards than I can imagine at present. Values and edges are what I am trying to see in anything I do.

6 comments on “By the Water”

    1. Which makes sense, Fraggy? The value studies is what I think you mean. They are on separate paper, so I think for myself more of a road map that actually works!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah right. When I painted 3D figures you put a vague undercoat of lights, darks and mediums before you apply the good stuff (oils in my case), which is akin to value studies I think as it makes you think how to do the contrasts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When you say 3D figures, I am thinking of statues! With watercolor, underpainting will show through, but with oils, yes, I would either put in an underlying light or dark, etc., and then apply glazes of thin transparent paint. Or, if I didn’t do that, force myself to do a value study, find the right color, test it, and then apply it. Maybe I will do a post on that . . .

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you lutheran453. Lena Rivo’s course is a good one – so many it seems to choose from – but the 2-year limit is a bit frustrating. Still, her knowledge of color and her teaching of it has made a big difference for me. Her painting is really good – style, too – and a poem to the eye. Definitely take the time to do it, and do it again. I found watching a video before doing anything always gave me the big picture. The second watching (or 3rd etc.) was better understood.


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