The first thing that comes to mind when you hear about contrasts in drawing and painting is generally the “darks” and “lights” – the values. We can observe in this unfinished piece by Degas that value contrasts are integral to strong design and come first before we make color decisions, however there are other contrasts to consider. Texture can have contrasts with rough and smooth areas, color can be pure hue or muted neutrals, direction can be vertical and horizontal, etc. Another way to consider contrasts is to see them as conflicts. They draw attention to themselves and can be used to draw your eye through a piece, following a planned path or having your eye “jump” right to the focal point. A center of interest or focal point is the final area where your eye rests and is generally the subject of the piece, the story being told.
It is highly useful for artists to keep to a limited palette of generally translucent paints, whereby the “glow” of paint provides depth and rich darks. That said, I have begun to appreciate the contrasts of utilizing opaque areas of paint beside translucent or transparent passages. The master painter Turner worked with remarkably atmospheric mixtures using opaques such as Chinese White mixed with pigment to produce wonderful textures in watercolors as well as the use of premixed opaques for oils. Turner’s composition skills from his topography background plus the exploration of pigments made a historical advancement in watercolor and oil painting.
Contrasts in Drawing and Painting
Posted by tsadmin on | Featured