When I critique my students work 90% of the time I say this

Your values are wrong here and here and here.

If you get your values right everywhere, the realism will be good.



  • @Mark_Carder My 'school' is Australian tonalism - the Max Meldrum approach. Although I don't particularly like Meldrum's paintings - many of his students were better, and many better artists in his era - but the teaching as a foundation was cut-through. It parallels your teaching, which I've greatly valued - for example his emphasis on values as the most critical factor for the eye, in order of visual importance: tone, shape, edge, colour... The foundations were strong. My own teacher (who was taught by a Meldrum student) once did a correct values landscape with incorrect colours (eg, purple foliage) to illustrate. It still looked real, dimensional. There are only some slight differences in approach to your teaching. The only notable difference I think is the tendency to block in the entire canvas at the start, in simplified values, to establish the tonal relationships - it gives the essential drama immediately - 'You can't put sunlight in a tube. You have to establish the tonal distance.' And then you bring the entire painting along at once - 'paint the next biggest difference'; 'in order of visual importance'; 'you don't paint at the easel, you paint from back here. See the mark, make your mark, stand back.' (I can still hear my teacher's voice). If he caught me: 'I think you're missing a hair on a bee's knee, there. Leave the details for now, get the big statements right.'

  • Here's a good example by Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey.  She had an exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum last year and had quite a few like this.

    The desaturated version looks correct!

  • I heard this some time a go, and adopted it as one of my catch phrases:  COLOR GETS ALL THE CREDIT, AND VALUE DOES ALL THE WORK.
  • edited September 17
    Dencal . . . still can quite figure it out . . . what do you mean by "full stop?"  When I deleted the text and tried to save, I got a message that I had to leave text.  Modern technology is only semi wonderful.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited September 28
  • @Zabreua, why not give us a demo by offering a critique one of the 1000's of works posted here on the forum?
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