Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Values...

Twelve Eagles   watercolor   27.5 x 17
provide a given artwork with a meaning all their own, I believe.  Works that are light-light-light on the value scale seem romantic and carefree.  Personally, I have a difficult time taking them seriously.  Sometimes they seem just too hap-hap-happy.  Works that utilize values in the mid-range, without strong lights or darks, seem quite moody.  Those on the dark end of the scale are just that...dark.  I prefer the high drama of works that utilize values from both ends, as well as those in-between.  We recently had a Native American model from the Cherokee Nation.  This whole problem was a bit difficult, as the resultant work darkened with each pass.  I wanted to give the work a serious treatment.  All too often, the Native American paintings seem a bit trite, a bit too dark in the eyes and rosy in the cheek.  And, conversely, those on display at The Butler Institute of American Art which were painted during the Westward Expansion seem almost scientific, as if these people were objectified and painted as if they were pinned butterflies.  I knew what I wanted but did not know how to achieve it.  The painting was critiqued by a couple of artist friends whose suggestions were valid.....originally, the feathers were much lighter.  They created a distraction and a problem that worked against the head area.  More washes.  More adjustments.  I have released the painting.  I do not yet know if I achieved my goal.  Ask me in a year.....maybe 10.  How does one paint honor, pride and wisdom that often seems outside of my grasp?  I do not know.

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