This week the art class I attend was all about value perception. The theory is is that it doesn’t matter what hue (colour) you use to draw something, as long as all the values, ie. light / dark / medium, are correct then your brain will still be able to understand the picture. To test this out we drew sketches, using pastels. The pastels were divided up into three boxes labelled light, dark and medium. You had to decide which value you needed for your sketch then pick out of the appropriate box with your eyes closed and use whichever colour came out. To be fair I don’t think my pictures look that crazy, some people ended up with bright pink tomatoes or blue pears. We spent about an hour on each sketch, and I think it really shows. I’m very happy with the tomato I drew, it looks quite 3D – the areas of light and shadow came out fantastically! My teacups aren’t quite so good, their colours look quite normal, like maybe they were drawn sitting in a patch of moonlight, but then being so pale its difficult to make the colour variations show up.
At home I tried this exercise again, unfortunately I don’t have as many pastels, so there’s a lot less colours to choose from. I think this spoils the effect, as I found the beauty to be in the many layers of colours all worked together to create an effect where you catch a little flash of a different colour breaking through the top layer, but then again this isn’t the worst face I’ve ever drawn, especially as I didn’t take the time to measure it out properly first. This technique made sketching easier because by working with many layers of pastel, if something wasn’t in quite the right place you could just draw it in a different place and draw over the old one to block it out. This makes me wonder if this techique would work well with acrylic paint as that can be worked in layers. Overall I think this picture turned out ok, even though the face isn’t quite the right shape, but then I only spent about half an hour on it so maybe it could’ve been improved with more time, it almost looks a little Picasso-like.