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Old 05-15-2008, 11:15 AM   #1
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Clayton J. Beck III - Head Study, Values and Edges




This is a demonstration that I painted at the Palette And Chisel Club under a north sky light. Painting time was approximately 2 1/2 hours. The materials used are oil paint on a double primed canvas which is taped with black tape to a board. The size is life-size, approximately 20 inches by 16 inches.
The demonstration was for the purpose of showing limited values expressed through strong brushwork. Most of the work on the canvas was done with number ten filbert brushes or larger. The secondary consideration was the expression of the temperature of the light source.


Step one:

I squinted down at my subject and very quickly realized that it was an island of light surrounded by a sea of dark. This first step was to bring the tone of the canvas down so that I could very quickly capture what I first understood at the squint.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:16 AM   #2
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Step two:

After covering the canvas with a tone I quickly wiped out with a rag the area where the face would sit. While this involved a little drawing I was not concerned with details. Another advantage of wiping out is that I won't have wet paint thinner under an area that I'm trying to over paint. As you can see at the area where the forehead will be painted, I begin with the darkest part of the light. I begin with this value because, as I stated earlier, this is a value study. Value studies are often painted from the middle tones out much as Sargent would have done.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:17 AM   #3
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Step three:

At this stage I have started to block-in the darkest part of a light and I am now moving on to the lightest part of the shadow. As I am talking about these values I am referring to the skin tones. I see that the lightest part of the shadow on his face is similar in value or lighter to the dark beard and hair. Therefore, I block them in with the same value. The problem with this is that I must very quickly make my statement as to what is in the light and what is in the shadow through temperature in order not to be confused.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:17 AM   #4
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Step four:

I have begun to work out lighter values on top of my first light value and I have worked darker on top of my first dark value. No real detail is attempted at this stage.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:18 AM   #5
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Step five:

As you can see very little has changed. A refinement of drawing and a continued refinement of values. At all stages I am acutely aware of every brushstroke's place. Meaning, whether or not it is in the light or in the shadow. This must be absolutely understood in order to have clean brushwork. The misunderstanding of what is in the light and what is in the shadow will lead to do what is most often referred to as muddy color.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:19 AM   #6
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Step six:

At this stage the head is nearly complete and all of the major ideas that I started out with have been expressed. I could almost stop at this stage.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:20 AM   #7
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Step seven:

But I'm glad I didn't! I expanded on the value structure of the face by continuing to finish my light areas, adjusting a few edges here in there, and finishing off the values around the head.
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