Last week, I wrote about the five modelling factors of a sphere, and how understanding what they are – and also being able to match the colours for each one – makes painting realistic colour and form much easier.
Yesterday, I gave a webinar in which I demonstrated in a bit more detail how to do that, painting two simple studies using that method.
Simplified modelling factors
First, a cube:
This is pretty simple, and is a great place to start. There are only three modelling factors to think about, and the colours are much easier to match since you have large, flat areas to judge against.
All right, so cubes may not seem the most interesting of subjects to paint. But I guarantee you, grabbing a few cubes, painting them different local colours and then painting studies of them will teach you more about how colour is affected by light than all the art books you own.
The second quick study was another simple one of a clementine:
This is very like painting a sphere. So much so, that painting spheres of a given local is wonderful practice for still life painting. The clementine just has a few more lumpy bits.
How This Helps You Paint Better Still Life
If you’re wondering how this translates into still life painting, here’s a small painting I did a couple of days before the webinar – funnily enough, of the same clementine.
As you can see, the clementine in this painting is very like the one in the quick study – except, of course, that I spent a little longer on the painting – about 6 hours on this one, including preparatory colour mixing. And there’s a few more bits in the painting, I’ve spent a bit of time attempting to design a picture, rather than just paint a study.
That’s why painting those little studies is so useful. When you’re just painting a single object, a cube or a single piece of fruit, all you have to worry about is getting the colour and the drawing right. No other distractions. No worries about composition. No pressure to produce a finished piece of work. You’re painting purely to learn.
I think many beginning artists don’t do nearly enough of this kind of practice.
Speaking of learning, I opened my new course, Mastering Colour, yesterday.
It’s 8 weeks of practical assignments – just like the cubes and spheres above – that takes you from first steps with value scales through to finished still life at the end – with more natural, more beautiful, and more realistic colour.
If you’d like to be able to paint more realistically and you want to learn more about colour, this course might be for you.