First cube paintings

Finally, the first paintings of the cubes. This exercise was started with the cutting of the wood for the cubes on the 29th March… all I can say is that college, entries for three exhibitions, umpteen attendances at life drawing sessions and just plain life got in the way.
I’m on holidays again now. I have a month. I have plans…

The first painting is the mid grey (value 5 on the Munsell scale). I figured this would be the easiest and therefore number one. I just measured each tone against my Munsell chips and painted what was there. A slightly wonky cube but it is the first and these are exercises not masterpieces.

Grey cube

Grey cube

Next the black cube. A little more difficult because the dark cloth is making the cast shadow very dark. Cast shadows always depend on surface they are on NOT the object doing the casting.

The shadow side of the black cube is darker than the cast shadow – black in shadow vs dark grey in cast shadow – but when I measure with my Munsell chips the black chip is a good match for the cast shadow. Obviously I’m not going to be able to match the dark side of the cube. Problem? Not really, that’s what these exercises are about – measuring what’s there and then mapping that to the available paint. It’s the relationship between the tones not the tones themselves.

So I figure I have two ways to paint this – use the black for both the cast shadow and the shadow side of the cube since they’re so close – or use the black for the darker one and the next value up for the others to preserve the relationship.

I painted both versions. The one shown here is the first option: paint both black. I was dubious as to whether this would give a convincing cube on a dark grey cloth. I think it worked.

Black cube, oil on panel

Black cube

The next exercise was the white cube which had similar issues to the black one but at the other end of the scale. The light side of the cube looked lighter than my white chip. There was also a white highlight on the top edge of the light side that looked even lighter.

Two options again. My first version uses white for the light highlight on the edge and then my next lightest value – N9 in Munsell notation – for the light side. The other tones are as measured with the chips but painted one shade darker to compensate for the N9 on the light side. Amazingly it still looks like a white cube even though none of the sides are actually painted with white paint.

White cube

White cube 1

The second white cube is done differently. This time I have ignored the highlight and painted the lightest side with the white. The effect is still a white cube but it looks like it’s catching a brighter reflection. You can tell that’s Australian sun shining on that cube – definitely an effect I have a use for!

White cube 2

White cube 2

That’s it for today…

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