I’ve spent the past few months studying Munsell color notation and color mixing with Paul Foxton. My goal was to learn to discern value and color more accurately and to be able to efficiently mix those colors in paint. I’ve posted some of my course studies below. The above painting was done outside of the course, and doesn’t represent what is taught in the course. It is just a fun little alla prima still life, done before taking down my shadow box and lighting set up used in the course. I learned so many important things in the class. I think the number one thing I learned is how much lower chroma (aka less saturation/vibrant) most things are. Most things, including people, are much less colorful than I thought. Also, regardless of race, we humans are all low chroma orange (or as Munsell would have it, Yellow-Red).
After struggling for a few days trying and failing to do a one-hour painting exercise as I posted yesterday, I returned to the studio determined to tackle the challenge again and this time, obey the timer. I “cheated” just a little, redefining the project to better suit my current abilities by doing a quick outline and monochrome block-in with diluted burnt sienna and pre-mixing my paint (below) before starting the timer. At exactly one hour I stopped and then gave myself 5 more minutes to soften the edges on the shadow and back of pear and to add a highlight. It’s not a masterpiece but I met the challenge and, most importantly, enjoyed it!
One done, two more to go before moving on and returning to some skull drawing and painting practice to enhance my ongoing portrait drawing and painting study.
I thought this color and portrait exercise was going to be hard, if not impossible, because of the crazy neon green and red lighting on the model. But because she was lit from the sides her face was modeled with visible planes and shapes it was surprisingly easier than the previous red/green portrait experiments. It was fun to paint and I’m really happy with everything about it. Below is the reference photo and the teacher’s study. I enjoy seeing how he makes each painting look like a different person, using the model as a jumping off place rather than going for a specific likeness.