…continued from Part 1.
The next day of the workshop, Ann did a lesson on Value. (From my past posts, you might remember the three things I learned to keep in mind while painting: 1-Shape, 2-Color, and 3-Value.)
And the light bulbs went off. Everything looks flat because there’s very little variation in value. The background mountain is just as dark as the foreground trees.
Here’s one of the three unfinished mountains from my previous post.
Yup. Background mountains and foreground trees are the same Value. And it all looks flat.
Ann taught me that two simple principles (at least) govern the perception of depth in a landscape painting:
- Foreground objects are darker in value than background objects.
- Background mountains tend to have a blue tint.
Blue? Yes, blue. Apparently in landscape painting (and in real life), the further away something is (in the distance), the more blue it is. Blue. Who knew?
I consulted with Ann, and we decided on a course of treatment for my painting. She suggested that I first mop up color from the mountain by painting on clean water and then using a course brush or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Yes, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Then she suggested that I paint a glaze of ultramarine blue over the faded-out mountain.
So, I mopped and glazed (and discovered one more “cleaning possibility” that I doubt Mr. Clean anticipated).
I’m quite pleased by the difference this made. The effect was to push the mountain into the background, where it belongs. And the larger trees, by painting them darker, are pulled into the foreground.
I haven’t yet painted the reflection, but now I’m much more positively inclined to do so.
Inspired by what I saw, I decided to do the same thing with the third mountain. Here’s Version 1 (I had the advantage of not yet having painted the trees on this one):
And Version 2 after mopping and glazing and painting the trees and reflection:
I really like how the reflection turned out. To get the rippling water effect, I took a very fine, hard-bristled brush (for erasing paint), wet it, and lightly rubbed it horizontally to create the lighter horizontal “smeared” lines in the water.
And that, my friends, is what I learned about value.
(credit to Boomer Girl, Cathy Hamilton for the fist-bumping Mr. Clean)
But wait! That’s not all… Stay tuned for a final mountain study post.