Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Lesson in Values

Tangle 6 (rollover image to reveal value structure)

In this post, I want to show how my painting "Tangle 6", while rich in color, is also very much anchored in strong values. To get a better understanding of color and values, as you squint, really squint, rollover the image above to eliminate the color and the value structure will be revealed. Notice how the lights still hold as a group and my shadows still maintain the solidity of the form -- in both the black and white and the color version.

There are painters who work with a tonal palette where light is achieved through the use of values e.g., Corot.

Color to value comparison of Corot's "The Solitude. Recollection of Vigen"

In contrast, there are painters who work with strong color or rich chromatics to suggest a sense of light e.g., Monet.

Color to value comparison of Monet's "The Path Under the Rose Trellises"

And then there are painters who combine both strong tonal concepts and color to create, to my mind, a more palpable sense of place. That's what this little lesson's all about.

Here are some details from my painting "Tangle 6" to view. Rollover the image and don't forget to squint for the values and keep your eyes open for the color.

Detail 1 (rollover to reveal value structure)

In Detail 1 we have rich greens, reds, oranges and gold that interact, contrast and create a lot of visual excitement. Look carefully at the red stroke in the lower center. It lies within a green field -- a very strong chromatic contrast. Rollover the image to reveal the black and white and notice how the red disappears and merges within the green. While the color is snappy, the value of red and green are identical. The overall value is held but the vibrancy of those contrasting colors is gone. You will also notice in other parts of this detail, similar effects are in play. While the black and white version still has a sense of light, it doesn't have the complexity of life.

Detail 2 (rollover to reveal value structure)

In Detail 2 notice when you view the black and white version, how the background becomes somewhat flat. In the color version, there is atmosphere -- variations of blues, lavenders and purples held in the same value to create an anchored space in the painting. You can do anything you want with color within a given shape as long as the values are consistent. That's what holds that space in the painting and maintains it in the background.

Detail 3 (rollover to reveal value structure)

Detail 3, while graphically strong in black and white, the color reveal gives it the sense of softer reflected light. Again, contrasting color, similar values keeps it in the shadows.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tangle 6 with Details

Tangle 6, oil/linen, 50x50

This is the same motif as in Tangle 1. This time, what I found interesting was that the main tree was made visible by the sunlight striking the limbs and vines that surround the tree. All of the color that's inside the tree is reflected light which makes it softer by contrast. Details of various types of light striking vines and branches to follow.

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3

Detail 4

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tangle 5 with Details

Tangle 5, oil/linen, 48x48

This time I was intrigued by a vertical fan motif. What I found interesting was the early morning light, illuminating the distant hillside with a warm glow that infused the entire image. The early light falling on the trees created an opportunity of painting warm tones into warm tones with the most subtle of variety. 

While painting the limbs, I worked with a very large brush, like a 2 inch brush on it's side to place the paint into wet paint so I would retain a softer edge into the background. Then I came back with a smaller brush to place an accent here and there to create lost and found edges, just enough to suggest the trunks emerging from the background. Three details...

Detail 1

 Detail 2

Detail 3

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tangle 3 with Details

Tangle 3, oil/linen, 48x48

I was intrigued by the horizontal branches in sunlight laid over the vertical shadowed trees in the background creating an organic grid. The warm light of the branches and snow worked wonderfully with the shadowed cool touches of snow on the distant trees. Three details of brushwork...

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Excerpt From my DVD, "River Bend"

Another excerpt from my DVD, "River Bend". To purchase or learn more, visit

Monday, February 3, 2014

An Excerpt From my DVD, "River Bend"

An excerpt about mixing warm and cool colors from my DVD, "River Bend". To purchase or learn more, visit

The Artist's Road

In the Garden, oil/panel, 36x36

I have recently been featured on The Artist's Road website. Here's an excerpt from "Voices of Experience: Peter Fiore"....

After successfully being an illustrator for many years, I realized that I was not a happy illustrator. I got tired of solving other people's problems. There are only so many times you can do the same picture. I started doing smaller jobs that gave me total freedom. With that total freedom I would try different ways of painting. I got paid to learn how to paint. That's how I treated those kind of jobs. I always painted for myself over the years, but finally in 2002, I decided to stop the illustration and jump into the painting I wanted to do. I much prefer where I am now.