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Value Misconceptions & more — Oil Painting Q&A Episode 11

I will continue to be making weekly videos, but from now on I'll be mixing it up and sometimes it will be a Q&A video, sometimes it will be a tutorial, sometimes it will be a painting demo, etc.

Watch Episode 11 here:
rgrCastillodencal[Deleted User]SummerLeeIrishcajun[Deleted User]RosanneElizaedwardZIMEstherHgreendlbilljmarieb


  • edited July 2015
    Thanks mark , great insight as always .
    I have just started painitng and have found your videos a great help and have purchased one of your dvds as a gesture of support more than anything as the free videos you offer supply more than enough information for the beginner but felt I should give something back for your contibution to art.

  • Excellent examples on how values work, great job!
  • dencaldencal -
    edited July 2015

    Thanks, great viewing.

    The logical flaw in the dark photograph/painting argument is exposed by this question.

    What percentage of DMPrs paintings will be seen in a museum environment and what percentage will be viewed and judged in a domestic home?

    For a career artist the dark value is a crucial attribute for success and professional achievement.

    However, I don't ever expect to commercially exhibit my work. I also consider that while I want to provide exhibition grade lighting for my best work it is unlikely that the work will appear too bright.
    Museums and to a lesser extent, art galleries have a very conservative approach to lighting, keeping the wattage and UV to a minimum.
    Light is essential for the examination and enjoyment of collection items. But in a museum light also means damage: dyes and pigments fade or change appearance and the materials from which the objects are made deteriorate. Damage occurs even at low light levels and the effects of light are cumulative. Items with organic components are particularly susceptible to damage by light. The only materials not affected are stone, ceramic, glass, and metal.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] admin
    edited July 2015
    @dencal Most people will NOT view and judge your work in a domestic home. They will view and judge it online, which is evenly distributed projected light. Also, you CAN set up good lighting at home — it's just that most people don't. But you totally should if you're hanging paintings in your house. And if you post photos of the painting online they should be good photos, ideally on a dark background. And ideally, your work WILL be in a museum one day, and at least you should paint with that in mind. Shoot for the stars.

    It's kind of like when someone asks me how to set up their TV set (however nice and expensive it is) to look like movie theatre, but their TV room has white walls and big windows everywhere that they're not willing to do anything about. If they want a movie in the middle of the day, I can't make it look good if I can't change the room, because it just doesn't work that way. If it's important to them they're going to need to work around the TV, because the TV can't work around their bright living room and still look right.

    Anyway, in bad lighting a good painting may not look great, but a mediocre or poor painting will look mediocre or poor regardless of the light. Since our instruction is 100% geared towards helping people making the best paintings they can, obviously we are not going to recommend doing something that will, no matter the lighting/presentation, appear mediocre at best. It's just not what we made DMP for.

    Also… you do realize that the old masters et al had the same issues we have regarding lighting, except much, much worse?

    Regarding the conservation and lighting thing… Mark knows more than I do about that stuff than I do, but from your quote I guess the best place to put a painting is in a dark closet. ;) Time consumes all things, we live and we die, but we paint so people can see the paintings. Nothing is permanent, but by using good materials and practices, you can make paintings last a very long time AND allow people to see them.

    I also, for the record, had absolutely no trouble seeing the wonderful Sargent paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    And here is an excellent example of a painting that is "exposed" perfectly by @MikeO:

    And another good example, this one by @Kaye:

    And even if the subject matter is extremely bright, like snow lit by direct sunlight, you still don't have to blow the highlights out:

  • I had not realized that scanning photos changed color value when they are "digitized".

    This afternoon I scanned an old photo (from the days of Kodachrome film), which is the subject of my next painting. The change in value and color saturation was much lighter as a .jpg file.

    Thanks for the tip, explaining how to adjust value in Photoshop (I noticed the saturation was off too, so I played around with it, also). I think I was able to match the original photograph as closely as possible.
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