Greyscales and cubes

As a first step toward getting control of tonal values I’ve swapped the white ceramic platter I’ve been using as a palette for a piece of glass. Under it there’s a sheet of masonite cut to the same size and painted mid grey. To be absolutely sure the grey was correct I used Liquidtex Grey No.5. Also sitting under the glass is a greyscale – showing the values from white to black. What next?

Jeffrey Freedner suggested I buy or make ten wooden cubes and spheres and paint them from white through the grey scales to black, then paint small still lives of them. This exercise was recommended by Graydon Parrish and he reckons it is a great exercise to do no matter what level you are at.

Another similar idea was to find objects around the house to represent the same simple shapes: cube, sphere, cone, cylinder. Then set them up, separately and together, with a good strong light source at a 45-degree angle. Look for the value steps in the objects and draw them. This suggestion looked easier because it would be easier than trying to make the wooden cubes and spheres.

In fact I’m going to do all of the above…


Wooden cubes ready for painting

The styrofoam spheres and cones came from the craft store. Cones? Why cones? Well I had this thought that if I’m painting still lives of these things then a little attention to composition wouldn’t hurt. Three items grouped would work. (Since when should composition matter in a tonal exercise… nuts!)

Now for the gesso.