Continuing the process of documenting the development of my current painting, I’m now looking at using ‘studies’ to resolve the more difficult passages prior to beginning work on the final piece.
Having chosen a composition based on a range of thumbnails, refined the details and determined the point of interest, the next stage involves experimenting with value and colour to ensure emphasis is achieved for the correct elements while maintaining a coherent image overall.
For this piece I wanted the orangutan to be the point of interest, but the general feeling I also wanted to convey was one of loneliness and isolation – the orangutan being somewhat ignored and forgotten, which would seemingly conflict with being the focal point you’d suggest.
The way I wanted to balance this was by using contrasting chroma (colour strength – bright vs grey) and value (dark vs light). With the orange of the orangutan being a relatively bright colour, making the rest of the image quite monotone would give a reasonable contrast. I also wanted to give the feeling of a cold, harsh, grimy, concrete environment this poor animal has found himself in and the monotone palette for the majority of the image seemed as though it would work well to portray this.
On to the studies-
I created quick value study at half size to determine if this idea was going to give me the effect I was after, and also doubled as something to reference while working on the final piece. I also painted a full size colour detail section of the orangutan to get a feel for how much emphasis I was going to achieve with the orange against the monotone background.
On both accounts I was satisfied enough with the result to feel that I could start on the main painting with a reasonably clear vision about what I was hoping to achieve.
This is the first time that I have taken the time to do any planning studies for an image and I can see the benefit of going through this process. I was able to experiment without worrying about ruining what I had already done and could try out a number of different options. It also allowed me to refer back to something to ensure I wasn’t pushing one area too far away for what that areas purpose was in the composition as a whole.
Once again I was able to find some great reference information over on the Muddy Colors site that helped me during this process which I’ll list below so I can find them again later and for anyone else interested in some of the key things to think about when working through this stage.