Monday, April 25, 2011

Workshop Week Report: Value Workshop with Tony Curanaj

During our special workshop week (March 28-April 1) we all took a break from our regular schedules to focus on a particular area of study. While some students took Perspective with Sam Wisneski(see earlier post) and others studied anatomy with Andrew Ameral (see earlier post), the first year students studied value in the world and the Munsell color chart system with Tony Curanaj.
Mixing neutrals!
The first two days were spent mixing and tubing neutral grays, matching the paint to the corresponding Munsell chip. This proved to be a more difficult endeavor than we first thought,  since we were required to bring our neutral gray to an extremely exacting match to the chip, which proved to be slightly maddening. We began by mixing a pile of either flake or titanium white with burnt umber and bringing this pile to an exact value match to the chip. We then mixed a separate pile of flake or titanium with ivory black, also bringing this pile to an exact value match. We then began to mix these piles together in order to reach the correct hue of a completely neutral gray.  This was the frustrating part; since we were mixing large enough piles of paint to fill an entire tube, it was difficult to gauge how much the addition of the warm or cool pile would affect the main mixture.  However by the end we all felt we had a better grasp on mixing and understanding oil paint.

Checking it against the Munsell chip

On the third day, we painted Munsell value scales onto primed pieces of wood in order to use as reference, and we began painting. The real challenge began here, as we worked towards creating convincing illusions of value blocks. We used all of the tools at our disposal, including squinting down, our Munsell value scales, and our own intellectual reasoning based on our understanding of what we saw before us. We progressed from basics objects such as single value cubes, to more complex geometric shapes, as well as cubes sharing two or more values. The oil painting presented a lot of new challenges for us, which was both a little daunting and exciting. 

First day of painting our value studies
On the final day of the workshop, Tony lectured about the Munsell system and how it is possible to rationally calculate the values of lit objects from one's imagination. Armed with this new knowledge, we continued on to finish our final day of painting, where everyone proved to accomplish their best work of the week.
Four value studies from first year Ken Yarus

Thanks for the great workshop Tony!


Thomas K. Conway said...

Hey what easels are you guys using at school?

I've been meaning to ask this; they're intriguing because of how tall they seem. Are they custom made?

Emilie said...

yes they were custom made, I'll try to post a photo of one some time.