|'Late Summer Haze' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
But how dark do the darks have to be? The question came up during my workshop this past weekend. I had been doing my usual demos showing how I layer dark values at the start of my paintings. The result is usually a block- in with some pretty strong dark passages. See the painting and pastels in the photos below for a good idea of how dark my paintings usually begin.
|starting a painting with rich darks|
One of the artists in the group was concerned that perhaps she didn't start her paintings dark enough. She preferred a brighter higher key look to her paintings. It started me thinking. How dark is dark enough? Do we have to use the darkest value available to start a painting? What if you don't really like to use those dark values....what if you prefer to paint in a higher key?
The answer is simple. The darkest value you use in a painting will automatically be the darkest dark. Even if it isn't very dark!
If you use a middle dark value to a middle value and every other value in the painting is lighter....than that middle value automatically becomes the darkest dark. The value isn't as important as having strong value shapes in the block- in of the painting.
*A note about the wonderful Terry Ludwig eggplant pastel: This is a wonderful rich super dark. I like to reserve this beauty for accents rather than use in in the black-in stage.*