Values


by
Armand Cabrera

I believe value to be more important to the success of a painting than the actual color used. While we can key a painting’s value to use a limited part of the total value scale, we cannot manipulate values in the same way that we can manipulate color. All good paintings start with good value plans. This arrangement is what gives strength to your paintings.

The Value Scale

The value scale is the scale that we are limited to in pigment between black and white. While we can divide the scale into as many steps as we want, usually it is divided into ten steps or less. I divide this scale from 0 (black) to 9 (white).

 


A good value plan in a painting usually has four values. When creating a value plan it is better to let one value dominate. The other three values, in total, should make up an uneven division of space, less than the dominant value. With this plan it is a good idea to reserve two values for the light areas and two for the shadow areas. This would be a light and a light halftone and a dark and a dark halftone.

The amount of variety is infinite once you start modeling the large masses and manipulate edges to soften or harden shapes. Remember—the strength of a painting comes from its organization and a unifying idea. It is the way you manipulate reality to get that idea across. Value, more than color, helps you achieve this.

Please follow and like us:

Seeing Clean Color

By
Armand Cabrera

When most people first attempt to paint in oils, they see gray and brown everywhere and they paint shadows black and lifeless.

To keep your paintings from being dull, forget about grays, browns and blacks.

Get in the habit of thinking of color in terms of primary colors: yellow, red, and blue. All other colors are simply combinations of these primary colors. By staying with primary colors, you have a clear color choice from which to relate. It is a subtle difference, but an important one. Once a color choice is decided upon, you can determine its value, saturation and temperature relative to the colors around it. Mixing clean color comes from understanding which primaries are needed in its creation.

To see clean color, you need to carefully consider your palette. To get a more personal color sense, remove all the secondary and tertiary colors from your palette. Mixing the color you see from a limited palette will force you to think about the color you mix and its relationship to the colors around it. This process helps the artist obtain a better understanding of color. I suggest a palette of warm and cool primaries, plus white.

Titanium White
Cobalt Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarin Crimson Permanent
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Yellow Lemon


If you’re really serious about accurately mixing color, limit yourself to one each of blue, red , yellow, plus white.

Here’s the palette I choose:
Titanium White
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarin Crimson Permanent
Cadmium Yellow Medium


Remember to always use real pigments and not hues. Because of the composition of hues, they are not reliable for accurate mixing.

Please follow and like us:

Depicting Character

By

Armand Cabrera

When painting from life, the first concern of the artist should be capturing the character of the person, place or thing depicted. The character of an object is often ignored when painting. Any sensitive observation to the character of objects adds interest and raises the quality of the art. By using intuition and deduction, you will find the important aspect of the things you wish to represent. This is no easy task. Regrettably, so many artists exaggerate to compensate for their lack of ability.

How do you find the character of something? You do it by comparison. When comparing objects, you will become aware of their similarities and differences. It is these differences that give the objects their uniqueness, their character.

Differences can be the color, texture or shape of something. An object’s color is relative to the things around it. The components of an object’s color are its temperature, value, saturation and hue.

All objects are dependant upon the light falling on them, which defines their forms. By observing how rough or smooth an object is you can discern its texture. The shape of something is carried by its edge; how complex or simple that edge is helps to define the form. How solid an object appears and how similar it is to the area around it establishes its edge quality, the softness or hardness of an edge.

Often an object or objects have a line of action. In a moving object, it is the direction, speed and balance of the thing. The course of a river has a speed to its line of action; we say a lazy river when it winds excessively. It is a swift river when its course is more direct. Even stationary objects follow a line of action; the angle a tree grows or the direction of a stand of trees growing on a hillside.

An object has an essential element that defines its character better than its other parts. Each artist will respond differently to what is beautiful and what is ugly; what is important and what is not. A great artist paints the essential by using emphasis and avoids exaggeration and affectation.

Please follow and like us:

PRACTICE!

by
Armand Cabrera

Outcome is more important than Process
Many people delude themselves into believing that a painting is successful because they’ve worked so hard on it. We have all heard the sad tales of the weeks, even months, of work that have gone into the completion of a painting. Unfortunately, these artists have often ignored the outcome, focusing instead on the effort spent on the process.

In art, only the results count
Only a conscious effort towards a predetermined goal with a successful result can create anything worthwhile; anything else is merely an accident—not art.


Becoming a successful artist requires years of practice. The old adage applies to any career or profession—success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. It is most disappointing that, particularly in the field of art, many artists believe they shouldn’t have to practice because art is “creative”. This unfortunate philosophy was launched by the modern art movement and continues today to the detriment of all artists.

To achieve successful results, practice with specific goals in mind

An artist must recognize where they are deficient. It’s not productive to say,
“I’m going to paint better”. That is a meaningless statement. Instead, ask yourself, “How can I improve my paintings?” Isolate your problems and then take a class or workshop from a professional who can successfully target your particular challenges. Insist that your instructor demonstrate how to help you to correct your inadequacies.

When you think you have acquired the new skills, continue to practice. Remember, it might take five or six hundred paintings before you have truly achieved your goal. This is the effort required to become a successful painter. If possible, show your work to your instructor and ask if you have met your objective. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you are successful just because you have worked so hard!
Focused perseverance will undoubtedly produce the desired results

Please follow and like us:

October Harvest Demo

by
Armand Cabrera

I was drawn to this image of this old tractor with the pumpkins in the foreground. It has a timeless quality to it. Because this was on private property I first asked permission to paint there. The owner was very accommodating and allowed me to go ahead and set up and paint.


I set up and chose an 11×14 panel. I wanted the tractor to be the main focus with the pumpkins leading you into the painting. I started by massing in the main areas of the painting with some perspective lines for the foreground.

I am careful to get the value of each area correct. These flat poster-like shapes of value are what hold the areas together and will still be visible in the finished painting.

I work large to small so once the main shapes are established I begin to model the smaller areas and forms within the big shapes. I look for hue, temperature and saturation changes as opposed to more value changes. Most of the time painters break up the initial value pattern with too many value changes, this fractures the over all composition and weakens the paintings unity. To avoid this I constantly check my choices comparing their relative color and value and size against the rest of the established areas.

I’m ready for the pumpkins; I begin with a mid-tone color for their group mass and then model the pumpkins forms add some more modeling to the vines and tilled ground. I now soften edges throughout the painting where appropriate.

Please follow and like us: