Tone Study

I have been scanning many of my photographs for storage in my computer. It will be an enormous undertaking. For example, I started today and have reached the middle of March, 1989, having begun with January 1989. This is just before the beginning of my study of photography, which began in earnest on my brother Mike’s 40th birthday, the latter part of 1989, as I began a personal project to explore my relationship with him. Mike is my older brother who is autistic, nonverbal and very low functioning.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I used one of my early photographs as the model for my watercolor experiment today. Technically today’s study is a watercolor, although I only used one pigment: black. The object was to paint the tonal values present in the photograph, from the darkest dark to the lightest light.

The photograph I chose was one I took when I was on a walk around the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum. There were many sculptures of gargoyles, horses and busts, but I chose this one:

Photograph: Sculpture of Head on Wall at Brooklyn Museum

Sculpture of Head on Wall at Brooklyn Museum

I has some very dark areas but also some areas of darkness within which one can see details. It also has very bright whites, so it is a very good subject to practice reproducing tonal values.

Here is my watercolor study:

Watercolor: Head Sculpture at Brooklyn Museum

Tone Study of Wall Figure at Brooklyn Museum
16″x12″140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

I did not draw a sketch before I started painting. I tried reproducing the shapes of the dark area. It would probably have been a better idea to sketch first. The sketch could have provided a scaffolding on which to hang the dark shapes and would have resulted in a faithful reproduction of the model.

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