Saturday, October 4, 2014

Crystal Springs Sunset -- Color as Value Exercise

Crystal Springs Sunset, 
Watercolor on Aches #140 Cold Press Paper, 10"h x 6"w, 2014 #20

Bid in My DPW Auction ( Starting Bid $40)

"Crystal Springs Sunset" started out as an exercise in Stan Miller's workshop. Using a black-and-white photograph as reference, Stan asked us to use any colors -- arbitrary colors even, like green for the clouds -- to paint each shape, mostly wet on dry, soften edges as we go. The only requirement is to get the shapes painted in color as close in value as the black-and-white reference photo. It was a very valuable exercise, teaching me the importance of value to create a believable illusion of three-dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. As long as the value relationships are right, almost any color can be used to create a believable image. That is such a freeing exercise! 

In the end, the resulted image reminded me of the the evening drives I used to take along Hightway 280, when the glorious last rays of sunlight reflects from the water of the reservoir, the golden shimmers of light are breathtakingly beautiful. Against the setting sun, the silhouettes of the evergreen-and-oak-covered coastal range mountains are in a somber blue-grey color that is hard to describe with language. Not being able to resist the view, I have always pulled over to the roadside to observe and take it by heart. Cameras just don't do it justice -- high-contrast, low luminosity scenes like this are hard to photograph unless you are a pro with all the right gears (which I am certainly not). But today, when finished with this little painting, I am filled with joy that all those roadside stoppings did not go to waste. They have carved the magic hour, the majestic light into my heart...

Enough rambling for now! I should really get back to my watercolor table... In the mean time, if you have an image of a beautiful landscape, or a flower you like, or anything you might want to see painted, please email them to me at I will paint them and post them here. From every 10 paintings I make from them, there would be a random drawing, and the lucky winner get to take a original back home for free! Interested? Then send me your photo!

You can now buy high quality Giclee prints of many of my sold paintings, both on paper and canvas, as well as some note cards with my paintings here:


Thank you so much for taking time visiting and commenting on my blog! Your feedback and encouragements are things that keep me going with I am feeling down or frustrated... I will try my best to reply to every comment ASAP but sometimes life gets in the way and I am a bit slow in my response. I would like to apologize if that happens...

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