Recently I’ve been wanting to work on some quicker pieces that allow me to experiment with basic design fundamentals like composition, value, line etc. This past week I wanted to practice the idea of creating variety using black and white. I started by layering all different kinds of dark marks and washes using acrylic paint, paint markers, sumi ink, black pens and pencils. Then I started adding layers of white paint in different transparencies in random fashion followed by more layering of black. I also added layers of line work at each stage.
It was a fun exercise. I could see some of the darker lines and shapes showing through the white as well as areas where the white blocked out all previous paint. By doing this process I noticed that I was able to see clearly the values or “lightness and darkness” of the varying layers. It’s a visual skill I’m trying to strengthen, so, in addition to playing around with the idea of creating variety, the bonus was that I now have a deeper understanding of how to work with value in my paintings. Now I need to try a similar exercise using color to continue to train my eye the same way.
Some of the experiments from this series can be found on my Sketchbook / Studies page.