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It’s All About Balance!!

November 20, 2010
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It might be my science background, knowing that everything seeks homeostasis or years of painting or the practise of yoga, that has gently pushed me towards the understanding that balance is extremely important.  In art, as in life, the lack of balance brings discord.

I was teaching a couple of nights ago and began to notice that the students were struggling with value.  Oddly enough ‘value’ seems to be a rather easy concept for my mind to grasp.  Hues or colours fall into one of three categories.  They are either a dark, a mid tone, or a light.  Seems pretty simple doesn’t it?  It didn’t take long to see that the students were not struggling with value as much as they were struggling with discord.  My voice blurted out “remember to try to paint the WHOLE PAINTING.  Try to keep your painting in balance”.  I explained to them the importance of moving around the painting, developing different areas in colour and value.  One of the students told me she had never heard that before but she did understand what I was getting at.  This really made a difference in the image she was developing.

I have noticed over the years that students tend to paint one section of a painting at a time – I think I remember doing that myself in the beginning.  The issue with that approach is that value development gets left behind.  Students are often told, when painting in oil, paint the darkest darks first then the mid tones and finally the highlights.  Although setting your darkest darks is an important first step, I believe it is important to continue to develop the painting as a whole, switching from mid tones to light areas.  This way, the painter can better see the relative values of the different parts of the piece and is less likely to have to go ‘back-in’ to the painting to adjust value.

Keeping your painting process value and colour balanced can really increase the impact the subject will have and also increase the probability of success.  Value, colour and balance are three important components to the elements and principles of design that I have written about in a previous blog.  Keep them in mind when developing your next work of art!

I just wanted to mention that if you would like to receive the blog posting automatically, you can sign up using the SIGN ME UP signature at the right of the posting screen.  That way you will not miss a post!

Happy Painting.

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