Friday, July 31, 2015

Value Study - Maria Bennett Hock

I have been wanting to do an exercise using only black and white.  I mixed 9 puddles of paints in progressively darker values.  It was a challenge and I am not sure the puddles at the darker end of the spectrum are different enough in value...but I will work on that.  

I then blocked in my features with a middle value.  I used a photograph I had taken and printed in black and white.  I also used a mirror and made sure the light from my window was the same as when I took the picture.  I wanted to compare what I saw in the picture and in real life.  

I refined features and darkened and lightened as I went.  Working quickly as the light from the window would change soon. 

 This is my final.  I blended the darks and lights.  I am pleased with my first attempt at this.  I will probably work on it some more.  I am always tweaking my paintings to try to improve them.  Sometimes it works...sometimes not....but it is always an interesting learning experience and very fun.   


  1. A few years ago my brother took me to the Brandywine Museum to see the Andrew Wyeth paintings. They also had paintings of his dad - N.C,Wyeth and his son Jamie. It was an awesome , inspiring moment for me. But when I went to see the section of his dad's work (he was an illustrator) all his big paintings were first done in black and white.Surprise surprise! It was so amazing to see they beautiful black and white paintings. It was news to me that all illustrators of that time period had to do black and white paintings first. Now I understand why my professor in college made us paint in black and white our first semester. Can't say I ever got good at it, but now I sure see the "value" in it.

  2. Hi, Maria! Love your progress shots! About 5 years ago, I questioned whether I could still see values correctly, or whether I was relying on color alone. I decided to do some black and white's and a whole series grew from there. Years ago, I remember studying with an oil painter who had us do b&w underpaintings (grisaille) and then glazing our subsequent layers over that. Even though I was (and am) a watercolor painter, I found that exercise to be very much to my liking...maybe because it WAS more like painting with w/c. Thx for the peek into your process!


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