As some of you may know I have been benefiting from the wisdom, skill, and mentoring from the wonderful artist Bev Wells and she is pushing me to work hard with my value plans, offering me such valuable critique at every stage. She has guided me to completion on several paintings so far but this is the first she has actually had little to say about and the suggestion she offered was to simply try something to see it if worked......in the past there have been very definite ideas as to how to improve something and areas where I have been weak.... connecting shapes, leaving too much space have been problem areas and as soon as Bev has pointed something out, I have kicked myself and thought "Now why didn't I see that it is soooo obvious!" Anyway maybe I am beginning to get the hang of it!
So once again I started my value plan. The idea is to simply create a plan regardless of subject, then you paint your subject according to the lights, darks and midtones you have created in your simple plan.....easy hey? No not easy at all and I am finding it difficult to not consider my subject as I start my plan. I think the solution will be to simply play with the plans in my sketch book when I am not painting and create a library of value plans.Then, as I come to paint a subject I will look at my plans and see which one I feel will work best. As many of you know I often only use my reference as a clue and build up a composition from the starting point (especially with florals) so I'm not afraid to alter my reference almost to the point it is unrecognisable and that is how I need to work with the value plans. Take my reference as inspiration only and once I have drawn it or got an idea as to placement of subjects, simply refer then only to the plan. So I get the theory, now for more practice!
This was done from a value plan where I then placed my reference on top. I used a photo of a sunflower and then painting according to my plan. The point about painting like this is that because I have done some preparation I now have an idea as to where the darks are going to go before I start. I have created my plan with a view to a pattern of lights and darks throughout the painting which I feel works so it has taken the guesswork out of it. Now I'm not saying that all artists need to work this way but I have been wanting to improve my compositional skills for a while and this is the first method which has truly resonated with me.