Color as Value

The Contour “Color as Value” Still Life in Tempera

Complete a detailed, contour drawing of a fruit and/or vegetable still life, emphasizing value as shape and positive/negative relationships.  Add tempera paint in a specific color scheme, keeping one hue per shape.  Strengthen the design by adding pattern and other design elements.  

Materials: 12 x 18 white paper, rulers, pencils, erasers, sharpie marker, tempera paint, brushes, water cups, and paper towels

Shape: 2D, flat; two ends of a line connected to create an enclosed space
Values: the relative lightness or darkness of an area
Color Scheme: using a specific set or group of colors to achieve a desired effect
Thumbnail Sketch: a small sketch recording an idea - very rough, quick; often used to work out a composition

• Remember design considerations when creating your composition
• Exiting off of at least three sides to create a psychological activities or 'good tension'
• Use of a focal point or visual 'lead in' to pull in the viewer and capture their attention
• Balancing the size of shapes, lights to darks, and areas of complexity or activity with rest
• Adding depth and space through the use of clear foreground, background and middle ground relationship
• Emphasize positive and negative space as SHAPES in your overall composition
• Look for and translate the subtle transitions between different values and textures - the more you 'break it up,' the more detailed and rich your final piece will be
• Keep to a specific color scheme to help the piece stay 'integrated' and harmonious
• Practice a pattern or other element beforehand to add to the piece.

  1. Complete contour studies of various still life objects to practice strategies on translating to 2D; color theory studies
  2. Use thumbnails to help you practice various compositions and viewpoints on newsprint
  3. Pick your strongest thumbnail and gesture out your proportions
  4. Use a strong, continuous, smooth, contour line to capture all the edges, textures, details, and VALUE changes within your still life in extra fine sharpie marker
    1. Include at least THREE TEXTURES, and translate the different values as shapes, breaking up shapes in the composition
  5. Pick a color scheme to work with, and practice applying the paint on a scrap piece of paper. Experiment with patterns and pick one to use.
  6. "Block out" where you want specific colors and patterns - consider balance!!!
  7. Add paint to your paper, paying attention to neatness and achieving sharp crisp edges
  8. Go over the lines with extra fine sharpie again (as paint probably covered up the original lines!)
  9. Fill our assessment