Thursday, August 27, 2009

More experimenting

I've only just become aware of the concept of "local tone painting" (tone = value). It's such a strange concept for me, because the only way I learned to paint was by modeling forms according to light and shadow--that is, how recording the passage of light over a form makes a realistic 3-D effect.

As far as I understand it so far, local tone painting involves remaining consistent as to value within any given shape, regardless of the size of the shape. And having at least three different value areas in a painting. Some very small amount of modeling is "allowed." Cast shadows are mostly ignored. This is all very strange for me.

I tried this one last night as an attempt at a local tone painting (and still with some O'Keeffe ideas on the brain). I think that in theory, local tone paintings can look realistic, but usually don't. That's my take on the concept thus far anyway. So in a way I like it insofar as it possibly functions as a bridge between realism and abstraction. I'm very intrigued and burning up a lot of brain cells learning lately. One of the sources of my learning is an instructional DVD called Nuts and Bolts, by Denver artist Quang Ho. Very, very good DVD. (I haven't yet watched the other two DVDs he is making/has made, but I plan to.)

Criss-cross paw nap.

More art on my website:


Pam Holnback said...

Jala, I think trying all these different ways/ideas really pushes us, makes us think, and grow. Quang Ho is coming to the Springs for the Weekend w/ the Masters in sept. I'm signed up to attend his lecture and really looking forward to it!

Casey Klahn said...

I haven't heard it described as local tone before, but the description is a very Modern concept. see Matisse's still life work in detail for exactly this.

This painting rocks! The boldness is compelling.

Janelle Goodwin said...

This is a VERY appealing painting, Jala. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Awww, cute criss-cross kitty.

Nancy B. Hartley said...

Jala, This is wonderful, very Georgia O'Keefe. I love those colors, very strong , and dramatic! Interesting concept, I've never heard of this before.
Thank you for the DVD info, I'll have to look into this.

suzanneberry said...

Jala, this is amazing!! And i learned something. i'm very intrigued, especially with your description of local tone being a bridge between abstraction and realism. i've wanted my work to look more painterly for so long while at the same time struggling to create photorealism. hmmm. and the DVD sounds like something i should investigate. thank you for sharing your process! the painting is graphic yet completely realism. enjoy the weekend. suz

1000 paintings said...

I had not read about this till now. Can you also suggest some book? Love this painting, it is bold and beautiful. I love coming here and seeing something new each time.

1000 paintings said...

I had not read about this till now. Can you also suggest some book? Love this painting, it is bold and beautiful. I love coming here and seeing something new each time.

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Great food for thought, Jala! I love that your work hovers so precariously between realism and abstraction. It's rare to find an artist who is comfortable doing both. Yellow apples is delightful.... I'm pretty sure if I had to give up cast shadows, it wouldn't be so pretty.

Laurel Daniel said...

Sounds like an interesting experiment... (but I love those cast shadows, too! Ignoring those must have been hard!) Thanks for sharing about your process and what you are learning. The shapes in this piece are really pleasing. said...

I don't know what the devil you are talking about but the painting came out nice. And so did the cat photo.

Jala Pfaff said...

Pam - That's fantastic. I hope you'll tell me about the experience.

Casey - Thanks. That's exactly right. Quang Ho on his DVD was giving some examples of "local-tone painters" and mentioned Matisse, Diebenkorn, Van Gogh, and Degas. I also thought of Mark Leach, the pastelist.

Hi Janelle, thanks. That position looked uncomfortable but apparently Lynx didn't find it so.

Hi Nancy, thank you. The DVD is really very good, I think for any level of painter. It's kind of weird to me that I myself never really heard of this as a formal concept, even though (see my response above to Casey) there are plenty of modernist sorts of painters out there who do and did paint in this style.

Hi Suzanne - I would REALLY miss your bugs if you went too far towards abstraction, so keep that in mind! ;) I think it's a very good DVD, and the demos on it are jaw-dropping. This idea I have of it as a potential "bridge" is what has me very excited too, and I will definitely continue to ponder and explore it.

1000 paintings - Hi there, and thank you. I don't know of any book that describes this painting style as a concept per se, but the DVD is really superb.

Hi Diane - Thanks. You know what's interesting to me is that I find your own work on the "edge" of abstraction. I think you'd be really surprised to realize how close your work is already to local-tone painting.

Laurel - I love cast shadows too, and while it may just be that this style and concept (local-tone painting) is very new to me and I need time to get used to it, nevertheless my instinct seems to vastly prefer the light-and-shadow style of realism. I guess we'll see if that remains true. :)