Lesson 9 – Tone Study

Today’s warmup exercise:

I’m finally getting to learn the technique of at least one Master watercolorist from my book, the Tate Watercolour Manual, Lessons from the Great Masters by Tony Smibert and Joyce Townsend.  The Master is Claude Lorrain, who lived in the 17th century. The example shown in the book is The Tiber from Monte Mario c.1640, which suggests rather than shows a river, surrounding trees and distant mountains. Lorrain renders this in one pigment: sepia.

Below is my chart in which I lay down a light wash to represent distance, medium wash for middle distance and  a heavy application of wash for objects closest to the viewer.

Watercolor Chart: Tone Study in Sepia

Tone Study in Sepia

Tonality is important in many media, especially photography. A well-balanced photograph usually has a tonal range from dark black to bright white. There are exceptions, but this is generally the rule. Once a broad tonal range is set, there is room to play with other elements of visual design such as contrast between light and dark, smooth and rough textures, and other visual elements).

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