Progress report (HrK)

Just to show that this piece is moving along nicely, I have a photo of the recent progress. Note the highlights in the moon rays, bringing some of the brightness of the waves into other parts of the painting.

Nearly finished

Nearly finished


Value and color (HrK)

‘Hall of the Raven King’ is doing well, but I have reached a bit of a snag. Taking a look at the picture in the previous post, you may see it too.

Anyone using color has to remember the basic principles of manipulating value. Working in pencil or pen is a constant education in establishing darks and lights, but moving into color can dull this sense of drama, as color is an easy way to change from one area to another, without changing the value.

‘Value’ is the movement of color through dark and light, and does not refer to the color itself, or to the intensity of a color. Adding white to a color produces a ‘tint’ or lighter version of the original color. In watercolor painting, this can mean adding more water, thus increasing the effect of the white paper on the color. Adding black or the color complimentary to the original will produce the ’shade’ of the original, greying the color.

The value of a color can be seen more readily if you get a black and white picture of a piece you are working on.

My colors were selected on a principle of ’split complimentary’ colors. Permanent green is very close to the standard ‘green’ on a color wheel and the complimentary color to green is red. Quindacrone violet is actually a tertiary ‘red-violet’, close but not exactly complimentary to green. The additional use of red-orange would provide the triad of two split-complimentary colors, existing on both sides of the compliment ‘red’ on the color wheel, to work with green.

But I decided not to use the red-orange, preferring a slightly off-balance feel to the colors.

Unfortunately, at this stage, my values are getting a bit boring, and I may have done the painting a disservice in rejecting the red-orange.

But, really, the values being boring would not be fixed by the addition of another color. It would only make it easier for me, as I could inject some color to make up for the drab values. So, how do you fix a problem with values?

The easiest issue to spot in the photo is the lack of drama between the foreground ‘gatehouse’ tower and the grey background to the white wavecrests. Even the addition of green and purple highlights to the grey stones could not change the fact that the grey stones and the grey water are far too close in value. I like the waves and they are mid-range in the grey of the background, so I need to kick the value of the gatehouse up or down. Changing the color might also help, but the color still has to be over or under the value of the waves.

I’ve decided, due to the brightness of the spiraled wavecrests, to bring the value of the gatehouse down, using black and purple, without white at all to create the stones and mortar. I’ll let you know how it works.

Another value issue seems to be the brightness of the wavecrests, done in very light grey, they appear bright white next to the darker values around them, and nothing else in the painting is that bright. I have to use that value someplace else in the painting, or it will isolate the wavecrests oddly.

I’ll be working in some brighter highlights on the moon rays and the towers to combat that issue. If that doesn’t work, I will have to tone down the wavecrests with a bit of grey. Being that intricate, the attempt would be difficult. I hope I don’t have to do that.



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