Yesterday in watercolor class, Gwen Bragg introduced us to another planning strategy.  The first step is to take a sheet of tracing paper and make an outline drawing.  Then, taking another piece of tracing paper, lay it over the first sheet and make a black and white value study, using a black marker and the white of the paper.  The third step is to lay another piece of tracing paper over the first two and make a negative of the second drawing, filling in black where the white spaces are.

Those of you who have been following my blog may have noticed that the project I “launched” in January has fallen by the wayside.  It got to a level where I liked what was happening but was struggling with what to do next.  I also found that I was reluctant to continue for fear that I would mess it up.  How much emotional investment do I have in this piece of paper and layer of paint?  Too much, I guess! I have gone back to “Sitting on a Curb” and am applying this planning approach with it.  Today I copied the line drawing and made the first value study.

black sharpie on tracing paper

I found several interesting things.  First, I need to pay more attention to the edges of my shapes, making sure that they convey the information that is needed. Second, I have massed more of the shapes together, being forced to decide if an area should be dark or light and not falling back on a middle value.  Third, I need to address the background shape above the children’s heads.

As I struggled with this today I became aware of how much WORK was really involved – and how much I wanted to avoid it!  I would rationalize that I needed a break to clear my head and instead of going back right away, the vacuuming is done, the refrigerator is clean, and the piles of paper in the kitchen have disappeared.  The ultimate in avoidance tactics will be when the checkbook gets balanced!

Tomorrow, I will decide on the background shape and then try the negative of this study.