Showing posts with label value study. Show all posts
Showing posts with label value study. Show all posts

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just For Fun!

'Hot Pear' - torn paper collage

For those of you who followed the color discussions / exercises from a few posts back (starting with Value of Texture), here is a fun project that goes just a little further! Inspired by the amazing collage work by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, this Still Life Collage project is one I do with 3rd through 6th graders after having them go through all of the color study work that you have done.

All of the elements we've discussed so far come into play:
All you need to know on how to do these has been covered in the 3 posts referenced above. But if you have questions, please let me know!

Here are a few pieces I made - each in under an hour (that's how long my classroom time is). I don't claim to be a collage artist and many of you will do oh-so-much-more with this - but boy it's a blast! And that's what it is all about, isn't it?

Here is a variation on the pear theme. This time the background is low value and more saturated. The pear is high value and low saturation.

'White Pear' - torn paper collage

This scene was inspired by a logo on the magazine I tore up to make the collage!:

'Little House in the Hills' - torn paper collage

A few years ago I planted a symphony of sunflowers in my garden - red, orange, chocolate, yellow with red centers... with the idea that I would fill my house with huge, colorful bouquets all summer and fall. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to pollen and do you know how much pollen sunflowers contain? Aaaarrgh! I can't breathe within 15 minutes of walking into a house with them. So much for that. But I still love these gorgeous flowers and enjoy them in my garden.

'Sunflower' - torn paper collage

Apples and pears are such fabulous subjects for beginning artists learning about value - I have my little students (the grade schoolers) draw them with charcoal, reverse charcoal, paint them in acrylics and even use them in collage. I really dig them!

'Red Apple' - torn paper collage

'Tulips' - torn paper collage

All of the above are pretty simple shapes, but you could go even simpler and just try a sphere! This one started out on it's side but seemed to be eerily floating in air. So I tipped it over and added a lamp post - see it doesn't have to be a gorgeous work of art! It's just for fun!

'Mardi Gras Lamp' - torn paper collage

And here is one my 11 year old son did...

'Tree on the Hill' - Morgan Gilbert

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The 'Value' of Texture

Staging by Kiki Meyers and Photo by Diane Ahern

Nature is rarely content with solid blocks of color which is why she is so beautiful. Even within a single color, there are always dark shadows and bright highlights. Including different values in your own art work is one way to provide texture and movement and interest.

I promised to discuss value and texture and what better way to do so than by taking 'color' out of the equation. A plain sheet of white paper is rather boring. But it isn't that the 'white' is boring, it is the fact that a uniform color is stagnant, there is no movement on the page.

In the images above, our eyes are first drawn to the areas on each photo that present the greatest difference in value (lightness or darkness) such as the spot on the painted gear that has rusted through the paint, or the dark bark in the crotch of the birch tree on the far left. Our senses are further stimulated by moving from one area of high contrast to the next. Once we have absorbed the darkest darks and brightest highlights our eyes can then take in all of the other details. It is this mixture of light and dark values that provides us with visual texture.

If seen on it's own, the birch bark or the painted gear would be classed as 'white'. However when compared with the 'grey scale' underneath, you can see many different shades from white through grey and even black.

Color is introduced into these pictures, but the concept is the same. It is the value differences, the dark shadows and brighter highlights that give each photo interest. Notice too, that in my Copper Penny bead soup, I have included different shapes and sizes of beads as well as matte finishes and shiny surfaces - all of these components contribute to the texture and movement in the soup. But more on that another day.

Here is the first step in a series of easy, fast and fun exercises that I give to all of my students - from 1st through 6th graders in basic art classes up through adults in my beading and color classes - to help them understand value and at the same time stimulate their right brain. If you decide to do this series of exercises, I promise it will get more exciting later! Let me know if you are game...

Value Study - Step One

  • a couple of old magazines that you can tear up
  • glue stick
  • sheet of paper (cardstock preferably)
  • timer
  • set the timer for 10 minutes (yep, only 10!)
  • choose a single color at random
  • tear out pieces of that color from the magazine and randomly glue onto your cardstock
The Rules:
  • make sure you use all values of the color and it is okay to be generous with the definition of the color family (eg. 'green' could include blue-green and yellow-green)
  • glue into a 'blob' so that there is no cardstock showing through the middle of your 'blob'
  • make sure you stop at 10 minutes to prevent your left brain from taking over
It sounds so easy and it is. But I have found 1st graders to fly with it more readily than adults. Our left brains are so use to being in control that we keep trying to make the 'blob' pretty and orderly and we get frustrated at first with the short time we've been given. If you find yourself in this camp then try it again. Remember it is just paper!

I know this first exercise seems juvenile, but bear with me - we will build on it!

You may want to try the same idea in a different medium. Take out your camera and search for just one color (even if you have to eventually crop the photo to isolate it). Or throw fabric scraps from the same color family into a pile. Whatever medium you choose make sure to include all values of the color - light and dark to mimic highlights and shadows.

...we will expand on this next time