I am posting a link to 'Black and White Painting Challenge 5-26-09' a blog created by my students from the workshop up here in TF two weeks ago. I almost...no... always have at least one exercise in my workshops that concentrates and explains the value of working with and understanding Value Relationships and their importance to understanding how they relate to color in a painting.
It's a closed group for now, but please go take a look at what they're up to. I'm impressed and think that you will be too.
This was only a three day workshop so we only spent one day on how to simplify a composition's masses, and how to then mass values into their 'correctly' related value families within the composition in order to create more unity.
I had them do three small value study compositions : #1- keyed to light value ( 2/3 light-1/3 middle), #2-keyed to middle value ( 2/3 middle-1/3 light), #3- keyed to dark value ( 2/3 dark - 1/3 middle). Similar to keying a colored painting to high, middle or low key. What this exercise shows them is that you 'can' control mood, effect...what you want to say about the subject, simply by composing it with a predominant value or color key.
During one lecture I also showed them an exercise that I do with longer five day workshops. It involves a similar idea, but taking one composition and beginning with two black and white steps, moving into two color steps that simply develop the composition from one three of four shape idea to a full color rendition. I showed them a bunch of these that I've done as demos for classes and workshops but did not have time to demo it for them. However, at least one of them has done the exercise on her own and as you can see, she did a great job.
Anyway, I'm very proud of these guys that they went back home and started the blog in order to continue to 'study' what we started in class. There's no sign better than that to show just how serious these people are. Painting black and white is not as exciting as painting in color. But the sign of a serious student, we are all students, is that you continue to want to learn and improve your knowledge of painting. These guys are a perfect example of that and I take my hat off to them all.