You can’t just fix a bad design with good color

If it don’t work in Black and White, it ain’t gonna work in color. 

A good painting will also look good in Black and White. That is to say, if you can’t work out your value patterns in black and white, you won’t be able to just fix it with color. Have you ever heard of a grisaille, (that was a tough one to sound out, let alone spell) It’s a black and white under painting. I think the word gray, or grey, as I like to spell it, comes from the same root.

What is a Grisaille and how do you pronounce that?

Grisaille (/ɡrɨˈz/ or /ɡrɨˈzl/French: gris [ɡʁizaj] ‘grey’) (Giz-eye is how I pronounce it) is a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome or near-monochrome, usually in shades of grey. ~Wikipedia 

Work out your lights and darks before you add color

So, where was I? Ho yeah, it is often wise, especially for beginners, to work out you lights and darks before you move to color. I like to give it the squint test. Squint at your work and see if it reads well. Do the wrong things disappear? Do the right things stand out?
The under painting can be in a sepia or other tone too, for a nice effect, it doesn’t have to be BLACK and White.

Light and Shadow

Where is your light source? Is it in the picture? If so, you shouldn’t have anything in the painting that is brighter than the light source.

Are the shadows, cast, core etc, in the right places? I am thinking that the cast shadow in this piece is not dark enough.

Do you have reflected light in the right places?

Just add Color, or Colour as my UK friends like to spell it.

If you are painting digitally, like in Photoshop or on the iPad, you will enjoy the ability to undo. If you are using water colors then you can just glaze transperant colors over you black and white under-painting. AKA Grisaille.

If you are using oil paints, you may want to try a water color, acrylic, or gwash, (i better look that up) Gouache. The oil paint goes right over the aqueous paints without disturbing them and it works really well. You should see how Robert Barrett uses gouache, for under-paintings to create a beautiful effect. He calls it a “Rub-out” technique.



Working with Color

BYU Instructor, Robert Barrett teaches How to Art

We’re proud to have another wonderful artist, Robert Barrett at Folio Academy!

Robert Barrett is widely recognized as an accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, and his new video will be a great addition to our collection.

Working as a professor of visual art at Brigham Young University, Robert also had his work exhibited in numerous art shows. His worked has been shown in New York by prestigious groups such as the Society of Illustrators, the Directors Guild of America, and the National Arts Club. He has worked with many clients over the years, doing both illustration jobs, and books. Here are some he has worked with: Fawcett Books, McGraw Hill, Random House, Viking USA – with their imprints Puffin, Penguin, and Dial Books, Ideals Publishing, Thomas Nelson, Dell Publications, Double Day, Bantam, Clarion Books, Harper Collins, Concordia, and Deseret Book, as well as Outdoor Life, American History, Boy’s Life, American Legion, and McCall’s Magazines. Robert received a MA and MFA in painting attending the University of Iowa, and a BFA in painting from the University of Utah. He received the Karl G. Maeser Award for Teaching Excellence while at BYU, and more recently was chosen in 2010 as the “Distinguished Educator in the Arts” by the Society of Illustrator’s in New York City.

Roberts new course “Lift out Technique in Mixed Media.” Is now available at Folio academy. This course will teach the fundamentals of lift-out technique by following Robert Barrett as he completes a painting from start to finish. Beginning with instruction on the initial drawing stages, Robert will take you through opaque water color, oil washes, and finished details. Throughout the instructional video, Robert discusses the fundamentals – such as how to get a correct drawing, the importance of good shapes, and how to design compelling color.

Approximate run time 2.5 hrs – ages 16 and up