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Monday, January 29, 2018

The Value of a Value Thumbnail


'Welcome to Summer'         9x12       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $155
It happens a lot. I get so excited about a painting idea that I want to rush right to the easel and start painting. Sometimes my impatience gets the best of me and I don't slow down enough to make a plan. Those paintings are sometimes successful but often with extra work to pull it off. When I slow down to do a quick thumbnail sketch I begin the painting with more confidence and that leads to more fun and less issues to slow me down.

I prefer to do small value thumbnails where I simplify my subject into a few shapes which are assigned a limited range of values usually 2-4 values. Keep reading to see how a value thumbnail helped today's painting.


How does this value thumbnail help me create a stronger painting? Let's have a look at the reference photo I used. You can see that it has a lot of 'stuff'.....a tangle of weeds, concrete fence posts, ugly building. I was drawn to the scene because of the flowers and not the extra stuff in the photo.  It needs to be edited to eliminate the clutter so I can focus on the flowers and their placement among the grasses.

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I simplified the scene into four simple shapes and assigned each shape a value from dark to light. This  provided the foundation for the painting. It allowed me to stay loose and expressive for most of the painting. I use it as a roadmap and put the details on top of this map. The value map underneath the details hold it all together like glue.

In this painting I relied on the thumbnail to establish the foundation to hold all of the flowers in place. If you look at the thumbnail and the photo you can see that I took the dark areas at the bottom right of the photo and expanded it up into the painting connecting it to the dark shrubs. This dark mass isn't in the photo but I exaggerated it because I knew I needed this dark in place so my flowers wouldn't be floating or look pasted onto the painting.

The Value thumbnail was a visual reminder to establish a strong foundation.

A few greens for the bush

Finishing the poppies and giving them POP
If you would like to see the development of this painting I have a new HYBRID demo on my Patreon page. It consists of a video of the start of the painting and step by step photos of the finish. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis


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