Sunday, November 17, 2019

"Red and Blue" Painting Demo - a method for matching values and a surfing song

This past week, I was asked to paint a demo for a local art club.  It was an interesting afternoon.  I did not know the painting experience of the audience so decided to demonstrate a method I use sometimes to ensure that I am matching my values.  I set up a red and blue still life with a strong light to dark pattern, and stood on the shadow side.  I then mixed a neutral red/blue by adding some yellow ochre, covering the entire painting surface with wash consistency, value approximately 3.5 on a 5-value scale.  Then I used a clean brush and thinner to wipe out all the light areas. I then painted only into the darks for most of the demo.  
 Using this method, there is no need to carefully match values as you place color side by side against other passages of color against a white backdrop while you try to lose edges.  The value passage is there... and you match as you paint into it.  It is easy to drop the color into the value, adjusting slightly for reflected light.  It allows me to concentrate on temperature and hue shifts rather than value.  I continued to paint into the darks until the last fifteen minutes at which time I added a few light notes.  Overall, I talked and painted for about an hour and a half.  Very interesting group, lots of good questions, and a nice afternoon.  
The benefits of this approach: - you have lost your edges right away in both the light and shadow areas before any color is applied.
- the ground is neutral so any color applied against it reads as rich and powerful. 
- When you apply the wiping out technique carefully, your form is established before you apply any paint beyond the ground.
When I blogged about this approach six years ago, I added a link to the Surfaris classic surf song "Wipeout".  Here it is again. Please enjoy this taste of summer... as we approach winter in New England.   


  1. what a great lesson and the painting turned out beautifully.

  2. Thanks, MSW! I had a great time... good audience.