In a recent copy of Australian Artist Magazine (Yessiree, an actual paper magazine!) I read an article on doing small tonal paintings before doing the actual painting. I struggle with tone. So I decided to give it a go.
I thought I’d do a few paintings at once. I paint based on photographs that about 95% of the time I have taken.
So these are the photographs. I also didn’t vet these – just pulled them out of the packet and went with the ones I got. Which meant there were a few challenges in there. STILL WATER OH MY FAVORITE GOODY TWO LOTS.
From here i drew an outline in actual size of the photo
The technique is to use only three tones – white, mid, and dark. You leave the lightest bits of the paper white, you use a uniform mid tone for every mid colour, and you then wash in only the darks you see.
Mid tone and white:
Adding in the dark:
So I had a tonal map for each painting. So I went ahead and did a really light wash for the palest colours (or left bits white) and then I did the mid tones – this is the picture in the top right in the grid above:
Lots of lovely colour but all about the same darkness other than the light bits.
Then i went full dark:
And tidied it up.
Wow. What a contrast. I was a bit staggered by how well it worked on the first one. I had to lay my tone map next to my reference photo and the combination helped to show me where to put in the darks for the best effect – balance and tone. I can get very lost in the heat of a painting, trying to work out the tone, and I can mess it up pretty hard. This way I had already made the best decision literally weeks ago and I just had to implement it.
So I’ve finished them all now and I will post them up soon!
Good suggestion, I’m going to do this in future with paintings. Thanks Australian Artist!