Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rag Doll...Finding Values with Gray Scale

I set the scanner to Gray Scale, printed off a copy, and wrote notes to myself...five of them.

1. More contrast here. If I darken the background on this side the doll's head will, by contrast, pop more to the foreground. I have to keep in mind that the doll has orangy-red yarn hair. Orange, red, and yellow have more power to attract the eye than a gray scale image shows.

2. The edge of the doll's leg is a bit lost. Sometimes we artists want "Lost Edges" but this leg is in the foreground. I don't want it lost.

3. The edge of the chair leg is fuzzy. I drew a line with a pen to remind myself to adjust the leg. A chair leg is sturdy so I want to think about defining it a bit more.

4. This spot on the rug sticks out. I want it to recede.

5. The dress needs more contrast. I can get that by strengthening the colors of the shadowed areas.

I always look for what seems to be working as well as what I want to change. If I don't, I get discouraged, just as a student does when a teacher only points out the flaws. I like the highlights in the eyes, the shaggy hair and the rug texture.

Below is the painting after I made the changes. I plan to work on it again after I consider a new gray scale version.


  1. Looks good to me..are you just a bit harsh with yourself? That doll looks almost lifelike:)

  2. It's fascinating how paintings grow by layers.

    Kind of like fiction.