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Value Studies for Painting


sketching Venice, Italy
First go. Notice how it's a bit dull and unfocused. No real areas to hold your eye.

Ok, so value studies are rather boring. I really want to get into the fun exuberance of painting! Who wants to bother with stupid value studies? They take up a healthy chunk of valuable painting time for something we hardly look at again.

Unfortunately, without a very clear idea in your head of what you're going to paint, you spend your time drawing, planning and painting. All at the same time. In paint. Trying carefully to reserve whites. It just can't be done - and result in a bold exuberance of a painting. Oil painters can plan as they go. Oil painting has practically unlimited redos - you can always scrape the canvas down. Watercolorists need to know before they put their brush on paper. Then they can have bold, confident brush strokes instead of hesitant wimpy dabs.

Dulling some areas down to keep the eye in the painting. Increasing some contrasts. Now I'm ready to start painting!

Also, this is a value study, not an accurate or complicated drawing. This is where simplifying a view down to the important stuff starts. It should take 15 minutes, tops. No fussy accuracy. Just quick notes on how you want this painting to go!

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