Dramatize A Drab Subject

An object of neutral color in gray or brown can be enhanced with dazzling light and a colorful background. Work from light to dark. Paint a mid-value around brightly lit form shapes on the subject and supporting shapes, as shown here on birds and sedum. Note some white patches in the sedum, suggesting their lit leaf forms.

Then paint bright, saturated color in the background and let it dry. Add darker and darkest value to both the subject’s and other object shadows. Emphasize anything of importance with contrast, usually easiest with value. For instance, if the face is brightly lit, add dark color to object and/or background shapes behind it.

Here, a colorful background contrasts also with the drab subjects, emphasizing them.

The Love Birds, watercolor 11×15″ ¬©Bivenne Staiger, 2016

4 thoughts on “Dramatize A Drab Subject

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