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  1. #1
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    Question on what Richard Schmid wrote in Alla Prima

    In Alla Prima, Richard wrote (and im paraphrasing)....."a 40 degree change in form can be shown with a simple color change rather than a value change." Why? Because we have more colors at our disposal than values..." So my question is: Any subtle changes in value within lights, halftones and darks can be indicated with just a shift in hue of the same value? I did notice it is extremely hard to capture many values with paint as opposed to a B+W medium like charcoal or graphite.


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    That's interesting.

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    Yeah i found that interesting too. I think I can finally just stick to no more than 5 values rather than trying to capture all 255 greys...lol

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    yer, i think as long as there is a perceived change in the subject it kind of pieces together. Implying more subtlety in the values. It's really to simplify your values to make a stronger composition. Also i think the hue change probably works best shifting towards the hue of the shadows.

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    If you look at most master paintings the values are limited to four or five steps so the way you turn the form in the lights or in the shadows is with hue or saturation shifts, saving the value shifts for big divisions between light and shadow

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  9. #6
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    but within those 4/5 steps (many master paintings as we know are very detailed) any other subtle value changes (assuming no glazing is done) are done by hue/temperature shift right? Oh wait just reread your post dpaint. ok i get it.

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    ok i get it.

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    Its not about details. Look at them in black and white and see how many places in the painting are the same Values. Good paintings start with good value plans color doesn't matter.

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    I'd love to know if it is literally true that it is possible to make a form turn effectively without a value change. This notion also came up recently at Rational Painting, where the idea met with scepticism, despite being apparently promoted by David Leffel and Nelson Shanks as well as Schmid. In Schmid's (rather gorgeous) paintings the details of the form are actually obtained by fine tonal modelling, as far as I can see (see attachments).

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    Here is an example of what I mean. These paintings are by John Asaro
    When you see them in gray scale there is nothing off about them. But look at the color choices he made are not natural at all except in the values

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  16. #11
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    So the point is that a good value plan will carry the painting and you can shift your color to almost anything you want as long as the underlying values are sound. So the color of a cape on a figure or their skin color doesn't matter and your choices can now have more impact then using natural color. Where people go wrong is they focus on the other aspects of color like hue and saturation but the values are off and that detracts from the strength of a painting usually.
    Velasquez painted with red yellow and two blacks and white , Ansders Zorn, red yellow black and white. Corot painted landscapes without the benefit of modern greens and blues. Those paintings strengths come from accurate drawing and strong value plans they manipulate reality to conform to the artists vision.

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  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    So the point is that a good value plan will carry the painting and you can shift your color to almost anything you want as long as the underlying values are sound. So the color of a cape on a figure or their skin color doesn't matter and your choices can now have more impact then using natural color. Where people go wrong is they focus on the other aspects of color like hue and saturation but the values are off and that detracts from the strength of a painting usually.
    That's true. When painting digitally I'll often arrange my colours by value, then quickly pick dependant on value alone (broadly speaking). The hue variance combined with underlying values then produces a more painterly effect. Of course it doesn't work so well with wildly differing saturated hues if you're aiming for realistic rendering but for mild variances I find it improves the output.

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    AHHHH..... Briggsy.....it seems that Scmid uses more than just 4-5 values as he claims. I see more in those b+w conversions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andymania View Post
    In Alla Prima, Richard wrote (and im paraphrasing)....."a 40 degree change in form can be shown with a simple color change rather than a value change." Why? Because we have more colors at our disposal than values..."
    I'd like to know the direct quote rather than your paraphrase, to see if that's actually what he says. The other thing is that, while it's a very good book, Schmid isn't always very precise in his color terminology. The fact is, changing "color" (that is to say, hue and/or chroma) without also changing value is very hard to do with an open palette like Schmid uses.

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  21. #15
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    The values are much closer when you show them in grayscale. I just copied your image and changed the mode

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