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Adventure Series 1

Keying with Two Values

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Scott uses a photograph to demonstrate establishing a key based on two major values.

10min 36sec

Keying is the process of establishing the major light and shadow relationship.

While there are five types of light, and these will be discussed later, we will start by thinking first about the dominate light and shadow relationship. Our goal in this episode is to understand trees in two main values: light and shadow.

To key in two values, find the largest light and shadow shapes. There are many ways to approach keying in light and shadow values and the demonstration in this episode shows just one way. Scott:

  • First paints the key for the light and shadow shapes of the trees.
  • Based on light / shadow key, he then adds the sky and ground plane.
  • Refines the edges or meeting of the major shapes
  • Light and dark accents are added

Remember that the viewer's eye will be attracted to hard edges.

A note regarding Scott's reference of a gesture: a gesture (to Scott) is not a finished painting and does not yet consider composition. It is a capture of "notes" and is a simple portion of a larger painting as opposed to the whole.

Find a photo of trees with distinct shadow and light shapes.

In your painting journal: With three primaries and white, paint a gesture of trees considering how the edges meet.

Paint three small gestural studies of the same photo.

In the margins, add any notes that describe your intent for each study.

Go outdoors and repeat the process to begin understanding trees as well as light and shadow relationships. Use your painting and writing journals to capture observation notes of what you are seeing.

  • Tree Image with Distinct Light and Shadow Shapes
  • Painting Journal
  • Painting Supplies
  • Writing Journal
  • Pencil

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