Maintaining Tonal Zones

Among concepts that were learned or solidified at the Bill Perkins workshop I attended over the weekend was the principle of maintaining value relationships and patterns. In his explanation, Bill focused on identifying major values and then translating them into separate value ranges. Using my painting for this first exercise as an example, I will try to break it down simply.

First Bill had us analyze the values on the model and then define within our study those specific ranges. Each tonal block was kept separate from the next, but also allowing for variations of tone within it’s own block . As the diagram  I created above shows, all other values that did not fall into one of the value ranges or tonal blocks were eliminated.

This process allows each value range to stand as a separate and distinct shape that cannot be confused by competing values from another tonal block. The result was a painting that held together strongly  because it made a clear value statement.

I had heard variations of this theory explained before but never with such clarity. I then focused my efforts for the rest of the workshop on translating this tonal zone concept into the color studies that we did.  Most of the 16 studies we painted were done in 40 minutes or less and since we were focusing on capturing a color statement, likeness and drawing accuracy took a back seat. It was frustrating to not have time to “draw”, but overall a very valuable three days. More about Bill’s color theory explanations in another post.


See full post here: LIFE NEEDS ART2011-03-09.