Monday, June 21, 2010

A lesson in Color, Value and Hue

In the next few weeks we will have a visiting artist in my "Women who Art" class.  The artist, Lee Dickerson,  will be teaching color glazing techniques for acrylic on canvas.  In order to have an opportunity to play with this method, the ladies first have to create a gray-scale under-painting.  Below is a little tutorial and step by step guide of their paintings in process.

The ladies decided they wanted to use a conch shell (found here) as their inspiration.

For this project the students will need both a color and black/white print out of the conch shell.

 For each student:
Print out 2 copies of the color image, and 1 copy of both the black/white shell image and the gray scale chart.

Gray scale chart can be found here

Gather all materials needed to create painting:  Canvas paper (9 x 12 inches), black charcoal, pencil, black and white acrylic paint, palette, paper plate for color mixing, brushes, and water container.

Begin the process by applying a layer of charcoal to the back of the colored image

It's quite the messy process - charcoal tends to get everywhere besides the back of the paper.

Flip the charcoal colored copy - charcoal side down - on top of a sheet of canvas paper.

Transfer the image by tracing the shell contour and lines of color gradation.
Gather together the line transfer, black/white shell print, gray scale chart and black and white paints...

and start your painting.  Add a layer of white acrylic - the gray scale of the white is from charcoal dust mixing in with the acrylic paint.

Outline with a thin line of black paint, so you don't loose your contour lines.  Work the black paint into the white to create a gray tone.  It's easier to discern the color gradations by either squinting at the b/w print - or by looking at the print from a distance.

Continue to define the form by gradually adding tiny drops of black paint to the white.   Slowly building up the gradation of values to suggest the shells mass and contour.  The image above are the ladies conch shell paintings in various stages of completion.  We will continue to work on these next week.  

~ Ladies at work ~

Getting ready to transfer image.

The painting process begins,

and continues to develop.

Feel secure ladies...Lee will be very impressed!!!!


  1. Holy cow. Now THAT was interesting!

  2. I learned a lot today...thanks for your informational post. Wish I was near to take a class with you. Now that would be fun!
    Jane (Artfully Graced)

  3. Very interesting..., and great picture choice, hihi! This looks like something even I could try.

  4. Ladies, This is definitely a doable art project. I'd love for you to try it and send me your image. It would be so cool to post them along with the images from my art class. Give it a try!!!


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