It’s a back to the basics week as I wait out Open Studio weekends.

The studio is in presentation mode so I’m working in the dining room.  I’ve spread out my materials onto the floor, the sofa and a bench.   Not a bad setup since it’s right next to the heater.

Not wanting to paint more encaustic pieces, I’ve turned to acrylic paints and am working on value.  The difference between light and dark.  Clarity.  Really knowing what you are seeing.  We recognize and are drawn to differences.  We might not like what we see; yet we see it.

It seems simple and that’s why I’ve returned to it.

Can I control my colors?

I start with black and white.  How well can I move from white to black in 10 steps?  As you can see I moved too quickly out of the white (left end).  A little black goes a long way.  Will do this a few more times.  I have to get used to working with acrylic again!


Next I changed a color photograph into black and white and enlarged it.  I traced the basic lines and then went in with black and white paint.  Here I’m using the black to move the viewer’s eye around the composition.  The challenge was to have a value difference between shapes.

I don’t know why people diminish the power in practicing the basics.

“I was just working on x, y and z.”

Exercises and boundaries seem punishing and boring.  Yet I know it’s the behind the scenes practice of all greatness.