Tag Archives: values

Painting and music – a great analogy

Both art forms (music and painting) have effects on our subconscious!

Words like sensuous and passionate, or emotional, stimulating, mood altering, uplifting, depressing… can be applied to both music and painting! An example would be to make a painting too busy. It is equal to listening to music where someone plays solo without stopping. It is tiresome and ultimately not a pleasant experience. It is like looking at a painting that is filled with too much information or no color harmony.

Emotional attributes are equally felt in the use of color in art. A painting has the highest impact when it captures some poetic mood of nature, an impression of strength and power, or an emotion in a portrait. Color sets mood. Just think of the beautiful works of the masters Corot, Whistler or Thayer. Warm colors, by nature, are exciting and stimulating but can also be irritating. Imagine being in room where all the walls have been painted scarlet red! Cool colors have quiet the opposite effect. They are restful in the emotional sense. There is a reason why most people use soft greyish tones when painting walls in their houses.

Going back to music, any music piece is only consecutively played notes between pauses which, when played without emotion, are just that: notes, scales. The actual music is in the interpretation. It is nowhere to be found in the notation. Exactly like in painting: without an emotional connection a painting is just pigment on paper or canvas. It is certainly not found in the color mix. That’s why there is the term ‘artist’ and another one for ‘painter’. When does a painter become an artist?

When a painting is ‘technical’ we may be impressed (or not), but when a painting grabs you by your emotions it becomes art. That’s the painting you keep coming back to, whereas the technical one has your attention for 30 seconds and then you loose interest!

Instead of my paintings, this time I have uploaded some of the Masters.

A good quote by artist Jean-François Millet: ‘Technique should always hide itself modestly behind the thing expressed.’

Simple shapes and values

breezy day, by frankeber 2012       breezy day, detail by frankeber 2012

Another painting that relies on values, almost exclusively. Having said that, the full color spectrum is present. Look at the background and you’ll see blues, purples, reds, even yellowish brown. The only ‘real’ color is the red dash that represents someone sitting on the sail boat.
The water is mostly dry brushed. An effect that the watercolor medium is especially good for! Imagine, you’re a poor oil painter and have to do all this dabbling with white paint to get the water to look like this! Not with watercolor…three ripping brushstrokes and you’re done!

This is a classic H composition. I had to put the trees left and right fairly strong, to push the background further back. The sails are painted around (negative painting) to preserve the white of the paper. The have a few accents with warm grey (raw sienna and cobalt blue, mostly) that hopefully gives them the billowing effect.

There are almost no details in this painting, it is all an illusion. Your eyes are finishing the painting.
Simple shapes and values do the trick. thanks for looking!