Organizing the Lights and Darks

the blue dress

“The Blue Dress” 11″ x 7.5″

the white dress

“The White Dress” 11″ x 7″

woman on a stool

“Woman On a Stool” 11″ x 7″

Here are three figure studies done outdoors. My goal was to organize the lights and darks and paint these figures in full sun. I exaggerated the warmth of the light planes and initially put a warm pink color to indicate the blue in sunlight and then modified it with a light blue the same value.

Here is a concept that I teach in my workshops: In full sunlight, I fill the canvas with flat areas of color, making sure to keep all the sunlit colors close together in value (light) and all the shadow colors together in value (dark). So, for example, a white in shadow would be darker in value than a black in sunlight.

“It is beautifully simple, painting — all we have to do is to get the color notes in their proper relation.”—Hawthorne on Painting

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