Painting "from life" is definitely a new challenge, especially as it had to be in black and white, which meant having to understand it in values. Thank goodness for the monochrome setting on my digital camera! We're working on another one in class right now and it is in color. That throws a whole nother element into the mix which makes it difficult in a different way.
Here is a value chart, a way for us to understand the colors we have in our tubes and practice gradient and tint scales (when you go from white to the color straight out of the tube). Don't look at the color version yet... can you tell which color is which on the black and white version?
When you look at the color version, are you surprised?
Here is an exercise we did to learn about high contrast and low contrast. High contrast is when you use all the various grays between black and white on a value scale, including black and white. Here it is in three stages of progress, the third one being "complete":
Low contrast is when you only use 4 grays on the value scale. I used the same photo to paint from, just a different section.
This one is my favorite of everything we've made so far. The assignment was to take an interestingly-shaped object and paint it several times in a unique and interesting composition. I found an image of a perfume bottle that I liked the shape and color of. What you can't see here is that three of the bottles are glazed with gloss medium to look even more like glass.
The best part? If you flip it 180 degrees, they all look like hot air balloons, and the one at the top turns into a perfume bottle! So great!!!!! Sure wish you could see it in person.