We continue with value, contrast and light source... but this time with color! I decided to start with a simple object - a coffee cup - for the demonstration of building color on top of a ground of mid tone orange gesso. As with previous BobBlasts, I sketch out the initial coffee cup with the lightest light, establishing the direction of the light source at the very beginning.
Just like the ball in the last BobBlast, I anchor my simple, everyday coffee cup on a table, and knowing the direction of the light source, I sketch in the shadow. It's good to get the preliminaries all thought out in the beginning!
Back to the mid tone orange gesso... Remember, I gesso everything first. With these value/contrast/light source studies, using a mid tone gesso gives me an excellent starting point. I pour the gesso directly onto the canvas and spread it around - using a 1/4" piece of discarded foam board as my spreader. It's fast, simple and disposable. I am ready to paint within minutes.
Next layer is my loose sketch of the coffee cup. My job is to work out the dark areas and the light areas, since my mid tone has already been established by the gesso. My light source is from the LEFT, therefore the shadow is on the RIGHT.
I have decided to make the Coffee Cup red - one reason is because the mid tone is orange. I paint in the darkest darks and lightest lights, making sure that my formula of "Dark Against Light, Dark Against Light" is evident. I like using short, choppy strokes - this is not airbrush with smooth transition of color and value. First and foremost, this is a loose painting, so I prefer to push paint around on the canvas to get that spark and painterly feel I'm after!
After that spontaneous outburst is done, the next layer uses colors from my Color Wheel. Work all over the canvas - all the time. I suggest not staying in one area too long. (You just might tickle it to death!) After that layer dries, I continue with layers of pure color, giving attention to the light source.
Paint your dead paintings into Living Color with:
•A Strong Light Source
•A strong Color Combination
•A strong Composition
•A strong Commitment
•And Contrast in the back of your mind