The Value of Monochrome: Paint a Watercolor Still-Life with Just One Color | Jill Gustavis | Skillshare

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The Value of Monochrome: Paint a Watercolor Still-Life with Just One Color

teacher avatar Jill Gustavis, Everyday, illuminated

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      The Monochromatic Approach


    • 5.

      Paint Properties


    • 6.

      Navigating Color Choice with Charts


    • 7.

      Choosing Your Color


    • 8.

      Watercolor Techniques: Adding Color


    • 9.

      Watercolor Techniques: Adjusting Value


    • 10.

      Value Scales


    • 11.

      Monochromatic Subjects


    • 12.

      Creating Your Still Life


    • 13.

      Sketching Your Composition


    • 14.

      Painting: Light Values


    • 15.

      Painting: Midtone Values


    • 16.

      Painting: Dark Values & Achieving Contrast


    • 17.

      Bonus One: Digital Manipulation


    • 18.

      Bonus Two: Applications


    • 19.



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About This Class

In love with moody monochromes or looking to work on technical elements of your watercolor practice without getting distracted with mixing color? Creating monochromatic work in watercolor is easy to fit into your workspace, can help you with improving your practice, and is a beautiful painting style on its own as well! It’s anything but boring!

Taking it from the beginning, we’ll cover:

  • How painting using just one color is a great tool in your practice as a study or final art style.
  • Key art techniques that form the foundation of good paintings, monochromatic or full color!
  • How different paints and pigments behave and why that matters.
  • Which colors have higher impact in monochromatic situations.
  • Essential watercolor skills to explore your color choice and warm up for the class project.
  • Supporting lessons, including my personal tips on creating a still life, taking reference photos, and refining a composition!
  • How to approach a painting by working in value ranges, defining form and creating contrast.

For the class project we'll use all of the lessons to guide us through choosing a color, arranging a still life, and creating a monochromatic masterpiece!

Learning how to paint in monochrome is a good fit for beginners and seasoned artists alike. All you need is at least one color of watercolor paint, a watercolor brush or two, and some watercolor paper! Throw in some water and a rag, to cover all your essentials, but we’ll go over all the main and supporting materials and tools inside the class so no worries!

I can’t wait to show you that monochromatic watercolor is so much more than black & white!  

Need some extra help or want to dive deeper? Here's some additional resources!
Just copy and paste the class name into Skillshare's search bar!

Practice Your Watercolor Skills:

  • Ohn Mar Win's Sketchbook Practice: Back to Basics Watercolor Fundamentals
  • Jen Dixon's Watercolor Workout: 14 Days of Drills to Advance Your Skills

Still life Creation and Photography: 

  • Leah McLean’s How to Get Started with Still Life Photography: Creating a Floral Inspired Image

Digitizing Your Artwork:

  • Cat Coquillette's From Paper to Screen: Digitally Editing Your Artwork in Adobe Photoshop
  • Ohn Mar Win's Bringing Your Patterns into Photoshop : a Toolkit for Digitizing Your Work

Art Licensing:

  • Cat Coquillette's A Step-by-Step Guide to Art Licensing: Sell Your First Piece of Artwork Online

Music Credit: Easy Thoughts by Keys of Moon Music on Soundcloud

Meet Your Teacher

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Jill Gustavis

Everyday, illuminated

Top Teacher


Whether you're totally new to watercolor, or just looking to dive a little deeper I've got loads of insight into my favorite medium that I think you'll love! If watercolor's not your thing, I also got you covered with a selection of creative process classes that give you a sneak peek into my studio and sketchbook practice!


Scroll down, dive in, and shout out if you want to say hi! I love chatting with students!


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1. Intro: Are you looking for an art practice that helps you improve your skills while creating an elegant piece of art, join me I'm bringing it back to basics in the value of monochrome; paint a still life with just one color. I'm Jill Gustavis an artists on the New York, Massachusetts border. My monochromatic journey started back when I was a kid and I used to love sketching in ink and graphite. Since then, that love has bled over into my watercolor work as well. My monochromatic work has been for commercial use, selected for exhibitions, and entered in personal collections. In this class, I'll help you incorporate the valuable monochromatic process into your own art practice. Monochromatic studies and paintings are a valuable process to add in any art practice giving you a platform to focus on skills like composition and value without color to distract you. Besides using minimal materials, single colored artworks which don't have to be just black and white, are also a diverse and interesting addition to your art portfolio. By the end of the class, you'll understand paint behavior, essential watercolors skills, common features of successful monochromatic paintings, and even personal tips on still life arrangement and taking reference photos. For the class project, we'll use the processes in the lessons to create and paint a still life using your chosen one color paint. Like my previous classes, I think there's a little bit in here for all experience levels but the essential techniques lessons are targeted for beginners and as a color exploration exercise. The lessons are clearly labeled though, so feel free to hop around or come back to a favorite lesson down the road. Know whether you must enjoy the minimalism, the focus on technique, or just the simple elegance of it. I hope you also discover the value of monochrome. Are you ready to dive in? I'll see you in the first lesson. 2. Class Project: Now you can apply monochromatic painting to any subject matter but in this class, we're going to be painting a monochromatic still life. Still lifes are a great place to start when you're applying a new skill. They're easy to access and there's a lot of options when it comes to choosing either objects, styles, and compositions. I suggest choosing subjects to your still life that are of interest to you. This will help you stay invested in learning the technical skills and create a truly unique to you composition. Don't feel pressured to use things that you see me using or to use objects that you think should be in a good still life. Just use objects that speak to you. There's even more tips on this when you get to the lesson on monochromatic subjects. Don't be afraid to start over or try it a few times. You chose the wrong color, maybe you can't lift the paint and everything's turned out too dark, don't worry. I find I get better results faster on a second try, rather than spending my time fussing over a failed piece. In this class, I'm going to walk you through the entire process plus include some personal recommendations for some of the supporting steps. We're going to explore your own paints, you'll choose a color and create a value scale, you'll arrange your still life, and sketch out your composition. Then we'll layer in the light, mid-tone, and dark values and finally adjust any values to create contrast and a well-balanced painting. Be sure to post any questions in the discussion forum and share your steps in the project gallery. Now let's break out your paints and get started. I'll see you in the first lesson. 3. Materials: One of the most tangible benefits of painting in monochrome is just the sheer minimalism of it. Besides the pencil, this is one of the most successful ways to create on paper. In this lesson, I'll be going over the basic materials that you'll need for the class. The beauty of monochromatic painting is those minimal materials. I'm quickly just going to go over the materials that I use to make this class happen. Starting first with, of course, your paint. I use tubes of professional-grade watercolor paint. These are Daniel Smith, but I don't have a brand preference. They just happen to be both the same. You can also buy your paint in pre-poured pans, whatever you prefer. You can store either in, I use a desktop ceramic palette, or how I normally, or more often use my monochromatic paints is I use a small travel palette from-- it's a pocket palette, from Art Toolkit. This just allows me to take it on the go and kind of sketch on the run. Onto brushes, I use the Heritage line from Princeton in sizes 16, 10, 5 and 2. You can use whatever range of brushes that you are comfortable with. You could use fancy brushes. Doesn't matter. I just chose to use a line of brushes that I'm familiar with. They gave me a good range of working in large washes down to working in detail. Use what you have, what you're familiar with, because when you're learning a new technique, the last thing you want to be doing is working with other variables. When it comes to the paper that I use in this class, is I do use a few different types. The main thing to know is that I'm using 100% cotton paper. We'll cover why, in just a second, but you'll see I used Arches paper for my color charts. I use the Kilimanjaro sketch or Paintbook from Cheap Joe's for the thumbnails and progress sketches. I use a block of Watercolor paper from Blick for the project. All three of these are 140 pound Cold press paper. But the main reason I do recommend the 100 percent cotton is because cotton paper has the best features for monochromatic painting in that it's less likely to pill as you're adjusting value and lifting and scrubbing. It is more likely to give you better blending as the absorption is more even on cotton paper. It's also going to allow you to add extra layers of value. I have found through my experience with cellulose paper, that once you get to a certain number of layers, you tend to just be starting to wipe up previous layers versus being able to add extra layers of paint on top. To avoid frustration, I do recommend cotton paper. Moving on to accessories. They're very simple and you've probably already guessed them. A rag to blot your brush, paper towel to blot water or paint that's on your painting. Two water containers which, you probably already familiar with this setup. The one to rinse your brush and get pigment out of the bristles, and the other of clean water to lay down just clean water for washes. The last accessory that I use was mostly just for the efficiency of filming in the class, and I did use a heat gun to speed up the drying process of the actual project. You don't need to use one if you don't want to, but I did use a heat gun for the project. But you can see it's really simple. You just need some paint, some brushes, and some paper with, of course, the standard water and towels for watercolor work. But you should be ready to go in no time. If you've ever done any watercolor painting before, you probably already have everything you need for this class. A short supply list is always nice, but don't let that make you feel limited too if you want to expand this practice in the future. Once you have everything you need for this class though, I'll see you in the next lesson where I'll go over some basic theory and more benefits to creating monochromatically. 4. The Monochromatic Approach: Why would you want to paint with just one color? Well, in this lesson I'm going to go through three different perspectives on this. Monochromatic art can help your art technically, it can improve your art productivity, and it can also be a beautiful form of art all on its own. I'm betting that if you've ever heard an artist talk about why they've started working with monochromatic, then they're probably talking about value studies or perhaps they're working on improving their composition skills, so they're working on increasing some other intrinsic arts skill. You can use monochromatic for all of this, and that's what we're going to talk about in this perspective and it's improving composition, improving your understanding of value, increasing the mood, and working on how you portray story. Monochromatic work can help you improve in all of these. By composition, it merely means that we're taking out the distraction of color, without worrying about color mixing or just enjoying color. You can really focus in on the subjects in your piece and then also into the next section of value. Seeing where they are and how their values relate to everything around them, both in form and then that value, it definitely gives you a more heightened perception of how your painting is working or not working. This is a great stage if you're using a monochromatic piece as a preliminary study to correct all of that. You can move things around and see, well this works on a value scale level. You have light and then dark and then light and then dark and the most contrast where you want your viewer's eye to go usual. You can work on the strength of your piece before you get into choosing a palette of colors or that next level. It's also a time when you start leaning into the mood you want to portray in your piece. Say if it's a comforting kitchen scene from your childhood home, maybe you want to lean into something more, more like a burnt sienna or perhaps doing that monochromatic study in Payne's Gray might produce a more somber, cooler effect. You get some choice and playing with this, it doesn't have to be in black. Now, all of this works to increase that structure of the story you're telling in your piece. I don't mean it has to be an illustration of a particular linear story. What I mean is you're increasing the image and the emotion that you're trying to portray. There may not be a particularly strong emotion, it may just be, say you're doing a botanical leaf study and you're just heightening the attention to that object. You're seeing this object is important, and that's the story you are portraying. That leads me to the last point I want to make inattention to technical skills. By taking out color, sometimes it is easier to focus in on the structure of the details that are there, so the actual lines in form and spatial relationship which factors back into composition. But if you're into detail, this is a great way to really just sink in and enjoy it. Now there are reasons you can just use one color that don't have to do with building up your art skills. For one, it's a great way for beginners to get into better quality materials sooner. You're only investing in one color at a time because you're only using one color for each painting you're doing. You can even do a whole collection in just one color. It's a quicker way to get into those better materials. It's also easier to afford them, to store them, and carry them so you're able to do that work in more places from the beginning. The next reason is because if you don't have an ideal art-making situation, you can also still do monochromatic work in more scenarios. What I'm referring to here is your lighting situation. Not everyone has, say, daylight bulbs or access to a well-lit studio. As a personal example, when I started doing monochromatic work, it's because in the winter, this room which functions as my studio gets very cold and I tend to prefer to do my work in the living room, on the couch with my cats and with the warm white light and Christmas lights that light that room, it is very dim and warm white light is not great for color accuracy, so I tended to do more monochromatic work. All I have to see is my paper white and my darkest dark and I can figure out the relationship of value between those two points. I just have to pick up a paint or two, some brushes and I'm able to continue working in this modified setup. I got more work done by incorporating this into my workflow. This would work also for anyone who like me in the northeast there's very limited daylight in the winter months and if you work full time, I tend to do my work after work at night or on the weekends. Once again, having this setup which fully utilizes any lighting situation, any space situation, I got more work done. That's a great benefit. The next reason is one of the things I picked up on when I got into watercolors and that's if you're coming from having a heavy background and drawing, it's easier transition into painting using one of the techniques you can do monochromatic painting with. That is, sometimes when I'm doing this process, I approach it as I would be sketching, maybe using a smaller brush, working in short strokes, building up value. It's very meditative. It's actually quite fun and you got a result that looks similar to sketching as well. That's an easy way to get comfortable with maybe your painting supplies in the process while you transition. The last point I want to make is probably the most opinion-based of these. That's that I think monochromatic work just has this intrinsic allure to it that people find this connection that reminds them of sketching or ink drawings and there's this attraction to the most basic of art-making setups. That one tool piece of paper and I made a beautiful work of art. Monochromatic painting I feel like builds on that and that it has that simple, elegant final product, but it has so much more other things going on it and so painting is a little bit more flowy. You can get some more mysterious layer effects in there. It approaches the viewer as if it is this basic, beautiful, simple drawing, but then on closer inspection, there's some interesting otherness going on there. I think it's just a beautiful way to enchant your collectors. The other reason, I think that monochromatic work always will have a place in the art world is because if you've ever heard the phrase black is the new black, there is always a classic attraction to the elegance that is a dark color. Whether you're using black or maybe a dark neutral, I even think that applies to darker hue such as Payne's Gray, perylene green, which we'll go into in the lesson. But they just have this understated elegance to them. They match more things if you're thinking in a collector sense. If you think like a capsule wardrobe in a fashion sense, having something that's not overstated matches more things. It's easier to adopt and bring into whether your own collection, if you're releasing a collection of artwork or from a collector standpoint, they're more likely to see something that they can make work in their own homes. Now that we've looked at how monochromatic art is beneficial and how it's a great addition to your practice, I'd love to show you some examples of just how it's beautiful all on its own. The first example I have for you is from Lara Gastinger. Lara is an artist I've been following for a few years now. She does botanical work in a layered approach using just watercolor sometimes to pen and she likes to build values and recreate form in lots of detail. She intricately documents the environment around her and I see her telling a story of how much she loves her local natural environment and the need to preserve that. Our next example is Olga Paperega and Olga also doing a realistic approach, but her use of a deep black in high-contrast just makes her work when done on a larger scale sometimes extra dramatic. It just really gives you a feel of the elegance and the drama that monochrome work can reach. Our next example is from Denise Soden, and as many of you know her handle and YouTube channel name In Liquid Color. Denise is also a Skillshare top teacher and her realistic, environmentally focused pieces like these here, these skulls, you who really get a sense that she's focusing on exploring the color and the subjects equally. You really see a love for finding out information and using that information to produce a great piece of art. Our next example is more on the landscape side of artworks. Diane Klock's pieces here are value studies that she had done and some of them are without pencil, so she was just drawing the values and creating these loose yet dynamic mark-making to capture the energy and the atmosphere. It almost gives you more sense of the depth and the space that's in each of these scenes, as it does just delineating each of the objects shapes. Our last example is Marie Noelle Wurm, who is also a Skillshare top teacher here. Her examples I chose to list last because she's such a unique take on using monochromatic work. She does here, like as in this branch and leaf study, have a thumbnail approach to perhaps jotting down idea to be a painting later. But some of her work is [inaudible] this beautiful, loose, occasionally abstract paint explorations. I think they're just beautiful. She also does a lot of work in ink which I wanted to bring up because ink can sometimes produce similar results to working in watercolor. I never give up a chance to follow a few ink artists because it really gives you a broader sense of what monochromatic art can achieve. Now that you've seen how monochromatic work can improve your art technical skills, how it can help you be more productive in your practice, and how it is just beautiful with many variations, let's move on to paint properties and how that adds to the beauty of monochromatic work. 5. Paint Properties: When painting with just one color, your paint choice becomes increasingly important. Now, there's a lot I could talk about when it comes to what differentiates various paints. But in this lesson, I'll just go over some basic paint properties that you should keep in mind when exploring and choosing your paint. Now, there's a lot you can talk about when it comes to paint properties and all of the ones that I'm talking about should be listed on your paint packaging and on the manufacturer's website. You can always google what you find there. But the first and main one is the paint's pigment. That is denoted by a P number. P numbers are split by hue. So you can always take that number and look it up online to find out more about its light fastness, origins, etc, anything you're curious about. Transparency is the next one. This will be important for your monochromatic painting because the transparency of the paint denotes how much light goes through the paint versus reflects off of it. An opaque paint in your deepest values, is going to look more flap versus when you do a painting with a transparent pigment, you're going to be able to see through to the paper more often and it gives it a depth and a clarity, which I find really nice for detailed work versus an opaque paint is really nice for a graphic punchy effect. The next property is how staining your pigment is. This will influence how much you can lift later on when we're adjusting values. If you're new at a monochromatic work or just new to value studies in general, I would recommend in those staining pigment because you're going to be able to lift it easier without having to scrub the paper or not get it up to the value level that you want. The last property is granulation, which is fun and a lot of people either love or hate granulation. But when it comes to monochromatic work, this can either be a highlight in your painting that's one of the main features you pick your paint out for. Or it can be a distraction if you're doing a very detailed composition. The noise from the pigment particles that settle out in a wash can just take away from somewhere else you want people to look. When it comes to these visual properties, just keep in mind finding a balance of the ones you want in relation to your vision for your painting. A few extra notes I have for picking out paint is which manufacturer you get it from, which I'm not saying one over the other I don't have a preference. It's just that each of them has a proprietary binder which will paint out differently. So try a couple, see which one you like, and just choose your paints from the manufacturer you most enjoy painting with. The other thing with manufacturers is they may process the same pigment differently. You may get a paint of the same pigment number from different manufacturers, and it may be a different hue. Keep that in mind as well as named paints. Multiple pigment paints like Neutral Tint, Payne's Grey, different manufacturers actually have different recipes for these. They may use different pigments, so just keep in mind they may be totally different colors. Along the lines are multi-pigment paints, although most are just made up for convenience colors and are pretty consistent when you paint them out, there are some that are specifically engineered to separate. The ones that come to mind and most notably is Daniel Smith's Cascade Green, which separates out into Raw Sienna and Phthalo Blue, depending on how much water you apply it with. This could be a little frustrating if you're just getting used to monochromatic painting. Just look for swatches, try some paints out, and keep that in mind. But eventually, they're fun to use. Now that we've dipped a toe in the ocean of paint properties, we have a bit more to look at in a paint, besides color. In the next lesson, I'll go over how I use color charts to navigate all of these properties visually. 6. Navigating Color Choice with Charts: Since a picture is worth 1000 words, I organize my colors visually with swatches. Let's take a look at a few different ways that you can use swatches to organize your colors and choose a color more easily. Depending on how many colors you have and how you plan to use them. There are different swatch setups that you can create. Now, the first kind of swatch setup that we're going to go over, is the color chart. Swatch charts are the easiest, least time and space consuming method. They're great for seeing a large selection of colors at a glance. I use what I like to call my master color chart here to quickly view and select color candidates for projects. If I know I need a red, I can see them all at a glance as well as nearby candidates. Since we're going to be doing monochromatics, we're going to go into how to view this to see monochromatic choices in a bit. But to make one, all you need is a sheet of paper, loose or in a sketchbook, that is the paper you plan to paint on. So you don't want to choose something just because it's cheaper or etc, you want to be practicing on the same paper you're going to paint on. Now, this is on Arches, 140 pound cold press because it's like an industry standard for artist grade paper. I like to use this for my go-to, for my color charts. But you can use whatever paper you plan to paint on. What you want to do once you have your paper is you want to split it up into enough squares that you can swatch out all of your colors that you want to look at. But also, you want to make sure that these swatches are large enough that you can actually let the paint move and interact with the water. I'd like to consider, these squares are a 1/2 an inch by one inch long, and they're just big enough that I can fit quite a bit in this paper, but at the same time, I can see interesting granulation, dispersion properties, that sort of behavioral information. Because I want to know that if I'm going to do an entire painting with just one color. Now, swatch cards are the next of the swatch setups that we're going to talk about. They serve two purposes for me. They give me an in-depth look into a paint's properties. Here you can see extra granulation. This doesn't have any. They also allow me to visually rearrange and create palettes. Say, if this was a neutral earth tone palette, I'm able to sub out cards to see how my palette may play out and may look and just see what I want to do. I also want to mention value charts in with color charts and swatch cards, because they can also give you a great deal of information about a paint. We are going to be covering them and creating one in a later lesson though. If you're watching this and don't even know where to start with purchasing paint colors you want to try, I highly recommend beginning with dot cards if they're available from your manufacturer of choice, or to peruse different manufacturers. Now, they're not available from all manufacturers, because what dot cards physically are, is a daub of paint that has dried on a piece of paper. Now, as we discussed in paint properties, not all binders are well-situated for this, any of the binders with honey still would remain tacky and they'd probably smear, so they don't usually offer dot cards in this format. Now, this is the most accurate way to select color, since computer screens and photography can vary. Use a dot card to swatch out your favorites to choose from. Some of these dot cards have enough paint. You can even do a full smallish painting from one of the colors and really get a sense of if you want to use this color for monochromatic painting. This is a great way to weed out possibilities and not so great possibilities for your monochromatic work. Now, that you know some options to organize your color choices, create a color chart or cards from your paint colors. We'll use these in the next lesson to choose the color for your class project. 7. Choosing Your Color: Now we know a lot more about monochromatic painting and your paint colors. Now it's time to choose a color for your class project. Now, before we select a specific hue, let's review your own colors and weed through them to see which ones are the best candidates for monochromatic work. With your swatch chart in front of you or your swatch cards, I want you to squint your eyes or take a photo with the black and white filter on. Now, what we're doing here is seeing which have the deepest value range. Any color that stands off your chart is a great monochromatic color. The ones that almost blend in, not so great. These low-value colors will be difficult to see and will lack contrast. They actually hurt your eyes. What about colors in the middle? The ones that show up as different shades of gray are okay on a case-by-case basis. For example, I love lavender. It looks like a light-valued paint at first glance, at least in color, but I find it holds up well when layered effectively. It could be the perfect choice if you were to say, do some some or baby shower invitation motifs. So there's definitely some wiggle room in selecting successful colors depending on your vision. Having your colors in front of you, select a color you'd like to use for your class project. Remember, you could always change this decision, you are not locked into this choice, so no pressure. Got your color? Let's move on to watercolor techniques to start exploring its properties. 8. Watercolor Techniques: Adding Color: In the next two lessons, we're going to go over some basic watercolor techniques. Now, this is great if you're coming into this as beginner and this is how you're using monochrome to learn watercolor painting, but this is also going to be helpful if you're already a seasoned watercolorist, and you just want to get to know your particular color a bit better. These exercises will allow you to put it through its paces. We're going to start with an even wash, which can sometimes be more difficult than the gradient wash because you're trying to keep it even. We're going to start with just a general wash tint strength, it doesn't need to be super strong. I'm not trying to stay inside the lines. I'm going to keep it a general square, but we'll talk about how to keep that shape. I have my paint and I'm going to start at the top. I do not want to make an outline. If you make an outline and then fill it in, depending on how fast your paint is drying, you could end up with those outline lines still being visible after you've filled it in because basically you create a second layer on top of that with your interior wash. What I'm doing is I'm going down the sides a little to maintain a little bit of shape, but then I'm moving from top to bottom. If you were painting a not square area, just try and start from one area and move to another that doesn't leave too many sides open. You can also work with the general rule of leaving a bit of paint on this edge so that it has more moisture to evaporate before it can actually dry. You can see I've gotten down to the bottom and I'm just finishing this up. I'm going to clean my brush, blot it so I have a nice thirsty brush. Then to double check that I don't have any standing water, I'm going to tilt it and just see if anything pools at the bottom. Now, we did a pretty good job here in keeping it not too soppy wet, so that's good. If you had a puddle, say if you did tilt it and there was a drip edge or a bead of water at the bottom, you would take your thirsty brush and just run it along the bottom edge and it would slurp up any remaining water, and you would blot it out and then do that as many times as you needed to until there wasn't too much left and you can let it dry flat. You would let that dry now and not touch it because if you were to put water in it, you would get blooms in different visual effects which are fun, but not wanted if you wanted to do an even wash. The next one we're going to do is a gradient wash. Whatever tinting strength you wanted to be on the darker end, you're going to start the same way and we're moving top to bottom. We don't want to do any outlines, especially with a gradient wash. As I move down, now my brush is going to just naturally start to run out of paint, or out of pigment, and you can see it starts to natural just get lighter. Now, once it starts to just not be putting down paint on the paper at all, say if I have to get down here then I'm going to start to add some clean water. Remembering from that swatch, I don't want to go in with a soppy approach because if I do that right on the edge, here I'll show you, it's going to cause some visual effects, but we're going to go back and fix that in a minute. I'm just adding some clean water. I'm going to rinse my brush and go with completely clean water at the bottom. There we go. You can see. Now you see where I went back up a little bit there's a bit of a bloom. If I wanted to get rid of that, nothing looks as smooth as not producing one the first time, but here I'm going up with just some clean water and I'm just reactivating this entire swatch so that everything flows again. Like I said, nothing is as smooth as getting it right on the first time. Now, this is too much maybe lightness for my taste. I'm just coming in with some more paint and charging in. Blotting my brush to take out any extra pigment and just letting it go down to the bottom. Cleaning my brush is needed, there was some pigments still in there, and then going up and down is needed to even this out. Since this is fairly wet, it will even out as it settles, but that is the gradient wash. Now that we know how to lay down color in these basic watercolor techniques, the second of the two watercolor techniques lessons is about adjusting value. 9. Watercolor Techniques: Adjusting Value: In this second lesson of watercolor techniques, we're going to be looking at how to adjust value in your painting. Since in monochromatic work, you're using value to create your painting, it's good to know how to adjust your values throughout your painting to create the best effect. In this one we're looking at some additional properties to adjust your values. We're going to be going into some techniques we touched on, but much more in depth. The first one we're going to cover is adding pigment, also known as charging. What I have here is three sections on this little exercise card. You can do these all on one piece of paper, but this is just easier for me to demonstrate, being on little individual cards. What I'm going to do is put clear water in each of these three boxes. Enough so that it's wet but not sloshy. As you can see, they are each labeled. In this top one, we're going to immediately put in a dot of paint. It's fairly saturated brush, I put it down, held it for a moment, and took it back up. We're going to see how far that goes. For the other two, we're going to wait a predetermined amount of time. The middle one, I'm going to wait a minute, and then the other one will be at five minutes. It's been a minute, so we're going to add the same saturated one dot to the center. I'll put it down, let it sit, and pulling up. We'll see how far that goes. Now it has been five minutes, and I'm going to once again get a nice saturated brush load of paint and do a dot and lift up. You can see that goes way less away from the application side than the other two. Your card may look slightly different. So I'm in the Northeast, it's the first day of spring, maybe my room is drier or more humid than your room, so your paper may dry at different rates. Try this out with different intervals, immediately, maybe 30 seconds, and two minutes, if you live in a drier climate, or you might need a space it out if you live in a very humid climate, because your paper's going to dry slower. This is helpful when we're going to be doing the still life and the monochromatic painting, because you may want to get a soft edge on something, but how soft depends on how soon into your wet wash you place your paint. This will be very helpful. The next of the adjusting value techniques we're going to go over is lifting pigment. We're going to paint each three of these boxes with the same wash. I'm going to wash my brush, blot it, make sure it's nice and thirsty. This first one is like the other one, it is immediately. I'm immediately going to lift my pigment, and I'm just holding that brush there, giving it a little twirl, and then blotting, doing the same thing. As you can see, because this is immediately, the paper is still damp underneath where I was trying to pull the pigment, so some of this wet pigment is still moving back into the area. Now we're going to wait one minute. It has been one minute and I'm going to take a damp brush and brush across the middle where I want my swatch to be, and then just slightly dab, maybe blot my brush a little, lift some of that pigment up with my brush. Lift. You can see I'm starting to get where that water pushed out a little bit, because it wasn't fully dry and it's creating its own little bloom, which is a effect of its own, but you can see, the less of it has come up. Now we're going to wait until this is fully dry and do the bottom one. This is fully dry, so we're going to do the same thing, moisten my brush, brush it across where I'd like to lift, and just tickle the paper with the brush, because I don't want to be too rough on my nice brushes. Once I get the water moving around, then I'm going to take a thirsty brush and just wipe up what I can. You can see that that is how much I can lift once it's dry, you can see a clear progression of less and less paint being able to be lifted. If you would also like to see, say if you have scrubber brush, you can do a second one. We're going to do the same thing and just get the same effect here. Blot and wipe it off, then we're going to take a hard bristle brush if you have one, and just see how much more we would be able to get. It's always nice to know what you can get with a brush being gentle, and the difference between what you can get with the scrubber brush, because not all papers can withstand a scrubber brush. I'm not being terribly harsh here, just doing little circles. I just want to take my nice brush and just blot it again. As you can see, I've got a bit more off, but this may not always be an option. If you wanted to keep these as little documents, you can say that this is with scrubbing, and that one is without, just like the other two. That's how you can use a lifting pigment to maybe remove some value from areas of your painting that got a little too dark, or add back in some highlights. For the third of the adjusting value techniques, we're going to work on layering or glazing. This works with both transparent and opaque paints. Obviously you get a different result. We're going to be using the same neutral tint here. We're actually going to use the same tint for all three glazes here. We're going to start off with just making pretty much a large rectangle. We got some on our surface there. You see it's not that dark. Like I said, I don't want to do a full outline and then just leave it, so I make my outline and then quickly start moving in a direction. This is our layer 1. Now we're going to wait until this dries, and then I'm going to add layer 2 and then layer 3. I'll check in as I add each layer with you. Our first layer has dried, and if it looks lighter to you, that's because it is, watercolor dries lighter This is actually one of the reasons that glazing starts to come into play, because you put down a wash and once it dries, you find out that it wasn't dark enough. Now we're going to add our second layer. Once again, we're going to make a similar tint strength, then we're going to start from here, then just work our way down. You can see I've got a little bit of extra moisture there at the bottom, so I'm going to do that tip where I just tilt it, and with a thirsty brush, I'm just going to dab, then blot, dab and just pull up some of that extra moisture. Now we're going to let this dry and then come back for our third layer. Our second layer has dried, and we're going to do our third and final layer. You can see we're slowly building up that value. Get my paint and then add on this third layer. Each of these layers is still the same tinting strength approximately as the first layer, but it's just the fact that you're stacking them, that allows you to build up value. You can use that as your primary method or just to correct maybe an area that doesn't have enough value depth. You can see, that's how it looks like, it looks very unweighted, wet. Let me dry it real quick and I'll come back and we'll look at it afterwards. You can see now that all three layers have dried and you see a clear progression of getting a darker value. Like I said, each layer was done with the same tinting strength, and this just allows you to have more control over how dark an area is, By adding more and more each layer. It just takes more time in getting it all in in one layer. Now we're done with our basic watercolor techniques, from washes, to adjusting value, and you should have a great foundation to start your class project. Using these additional adjustment techniques, you should be ready to create a successful value range. In the next lesson, we're going to use these techniques to create a value scale with your chosen color. 10. Value Scales: Since values at a monochromatic painting go a long way towards creating the strength in your composition, it's good practice to create a value scale to see your paint color broken down step-by-step. In this lesson, we'll create a value scale with your chosen color. Now, value scales can look different depending on how you want to use it for your practice. Many field guides sometimes include a monochromatic black and white gray scale to put it next to something to try and figure out where in the range it is. But you can create one yourself, whether it's-- this one is five squares and this one is 14 squares, which is a little bit overkill. Most of them are about 10, because that is what's used in the Munsell scale. It goes from one which is paper white, and then number 10 is going to be max value. For watercolor, for me, max value is going to be as thick as I can apply the paint without it becoming a coating on top of the paper. You may like that look, which by all means go ahead and layer that up. But I do find that the reflection characteristics of the paint change at that point, it becomes matte, it catches the eye sometimes in favorable, sometimes in unfavorable ways, but I try to avoid that. I'm going to go to a max value where it's as dark as I can go before it starts looking like the paint is sitting on top of the paper versus intermixed with the paper. You can see here, I have the piece of paper that is prepared for my value scale. I have 10 squares here on the left, and then the numbers just on the right for my reference. Now, there are two different ways you can do a value scale. Well, there may be more, but I've done them in two different ways. I have done them in the version I'm going to show you, which is I start with a light tint, the darkest tint, and a mid-tone tint. Then I work in between the two so that I have a feeling of what I'm aiming for in terms of value for each square. But you can also do it using glazing. Much like our glazing exercise, you can start with number 2 down to 10. Now we're leaving number 1 as paper white, and do a light tint here, let it dry, and then keep layering those tints upon dry layers until you reach a darkest tint. The only problem I've had with that in the past is sometimes I don't go dark enough fast enough. I just have no way to gauge where I am unless you're very familiar with the color you are experimenting with. Try out both, see which suits your style. But I'm going to be doing this one via the lightest, darkness, and mid-tone. I'm just going to have this time lapse, and you can follow along, and I'll pop in if I have anything to note. Now, I'm going to assume that all of these are going to dry a little lighter. This may look like it should be further down, but I'm probably going to put another layer on top of 10 as I find how dark it dries. You can see here I'm using the lifting ability to suck out some of this paint and pigment because it was a little close, although this one is slightly dried, so this one will dry later. But I'm just adjusting as I go. I not particularly waiting for each of these to dry, I'm leaving a wee bit of white space in between. I've got all the squares filled in. Trying coming back to study, I could see some of my paint from three bled into two. But I actually want to lift some out of two anyways. I'm just going to actually wet this entire area. I did not start probably light enough. Now, each of these steps, if you're looking at the Munsell scale, should be about 10 percent of the total color. Now, that's hard to gauge. I try to just do it visually. You can see it's been on there for so long, it's not really lifting all that well, so I'm going to try with my scrubber brush here. It could give us a good example of adjusting. Now, once again, this is wet, so it will dry a little bit later. This is also half dry. It looks a little bit back and forth. As it dries, let's come back to it, and then assess where we need to add or subtract value. Now, my value scale, the first layer here has fully dried, and I'm going to come back in and reassess what needs value, what needs value taken away, etc. I can tell that I have groupings where these two are similar, and these two are similar, but there is room in between these to make some changes. I don't want to have a terribly dark-- actually, I'll slide this over, so you can see my mixing paddle here. You can see, it's not a terribly dark tint, it's just enough to add a little tone. We're going to go over the dark off each of these steps, and actually just add a little bit to all of these here underneath it too. Like I said, I did want to add. Let's see if I can add more to this one. Hopefully it won't get too pasty, which is what I want to avoid. It's all dry now, and it's pretty close to a good 1-10 scale here. Once you're complete, just keep reevaluating your scale, and try to use some adjustment techniques to fine-tune the steps. Too much correcting though, can quickly muddy the scale. Which is why I'm not going to go back in and try and lift any more of that color because it could have gone probably a little lighter, but it's hard to tell. But obviously sometimes it's better to take it slower. If you're new to making value scales, try recreating the scale again now that you have some experience with how the steps should look broken down. It's here to give me an idea as I'm doing my painting of where I am in terms of getting close to that max value. I'm going to know, if I take our flat wash card, this is pretty close to this lower to mid-range here. I have some more room to go if I need to add some darks, but I would hope that this is in a shadow area. If this was not an area that was suppose to be in shadow, I would definitely want to either lift some or try again if it's not liftable. This is a good way to keep an eye on things as you progress with your painting. Now that we're ready to paint, let's explore what we'll be painting in the next lesson. 11. Monochromatic Subjects: Now that we're ready to paint, our next step is to create our still life. A good place to begin is what makes a good reference for this. Let's review a couple of key characteristics of monochromatic paintings and pull out what to look for. Since a variation in color does not move a monochromatic painting forward, we'll need to make sure that the interest in the subject is based on other characteristics. Key features of monochromatic paintings could instead include subjects that have high contrast. So a value range that is used effectively. They have clear composition, which does not necessarily mean realistic or highly detailed. It could be abstract, but at least that the intent of the composition is clear, and that you know where the artist wanted you to look. Monochromatic painting also tend to use more interesting subjects, so whether that's an interesting purpose of an object, the form of the object, the texture of the subject matter, or just the light pattern that is coming through the composition. All of these can be used to move your composition forward, instead of relying on the color of these objects. At the same time that doesn't mean you can't choose a colorful object to paint with or without an underlying intention to placing that vivid color as a statement. To make it easier to start to see how compositions look in monochrome. I suggest either walking around with your phone's camera on in black and white with a filter. Or if you want to just take a bunch of photos with your phone or a regular camera, and then edit them to remove the color and just see what catches your eye, what works, and what doesn't work. You may notice shared characteristics that you enjoy between objects. For example, I love using glass, texture variations, and strong lighting for many of my monochromatic subjects. Notice how some of the colorful objects in locations that seem eye-catching in color may seem unexciting in black and white due to close value ranges. Now developing your eye for great monochromatic still life that you like may take time. Feel free to try out a few different arrangements for your class project. In the next lesson, we're going to do a scavenger hunt to collect your favorite items that you found and arrange that still life. 12. Creating Your Still Life: Now it's time for our class project to start taking shape. Follow me on the little scavenger hunt as I shop my house for favorite objects and locations. I'll give you some tips to help you find objects that speak to you in and around your own home. If we look at different places that you spend a lot of time, focusing on places like your entryway or your garage can be really interesting subjects. These are places that you use a lot, so there's definitely some interesting life objects here. The kitchen is always a favorite when it comes to still life materials. Fruits, vegetables, cutlery, and other kitchen items have been key still life subjects for centuries. The other place I look for interesting still life materials is my studio, or any place where your hobby or job is done. This will have tools which tell the story of creation, and whether those are tools in use or tools at rest, those can always be interesting compositions. Also keep an eye out for locations such as window sills, tables, book shelves. Set ups especially for still-lifes are widely accepted, meaning a table with a tablecloth and set up especially for a still life, but obviously, appear more staged in formal. See what works for you and your subject material. As you set up your still life, take a few moments to visualize how your composition will look within the dimensions of your painting. Starting with negative space, is there too much negative space? Does your subject feel lost? Or maybe is there not enough? Are there any bad tangents? Does the lighting need to be adjusted? Now, this could mean either does the actual lighting of the scene need to be adjusted or do your objects need to be rearranged so that the values are alternating? Another thing to watch out for are just unintentional distractions. This could just be something that happens to be in your room. You don't really notice because you're used to it or it could be something in the composition itself that you just don't intentionally want to draw your attention. Well, I hope you found objects and locations in your house that are equivalent of still life treasure, and you have some promising setups for our next step, which is creating a composition using some thumbnails and troubleshooting that set up. Now, if you're like me and you cannot leave your still-life up for the duration of your class project in the painting sessions, then I like to take lots of photos which you saw. I do have a couple of tips to help you out if you are also in that boat and need to rely on reference photos to get all your information. My first tip is to make sure you take lots of photos of different arrangements. Even if you see an arrangement and you think 100 percent, you're going to use that for your setup, still move things around and take some more photos, grab it from different angles even if you don't want to move things around. Because you'll be surprised in the next step when you analyze it as a painting subject, that sometimes things don't work, you need to visually move things and you're going to need the extra information about your subject. The same premise to the next tip is make sure you grab your full value range. Because you are using this as a painting reference, you have the benefit that you could take a few photos that don't quite show the whole picture. What I mean is you can either take like an HDR image which would capture more values, or you can simply take a lower exposure to capture all your highlights and the higher exposure to capture all your shadows. Then just use what information you need from each of those shots to fill in your details. Another note is while pets aren't exactly still life, they can definitely add some living dimension. You just may need to have at least one reference photo before they get bored and decide they don't want to be in your picture anymore. In the same line as that, make sure you grab any detail shots, more up-close for items that you want to exaggerate or focus on because you'd be surprised down the line if you want to then emphasize something, you may no longer have access to that object or it has changed. Say you're using fruit or flowers, they tend to start to wilt or look a little off in the next week or so. Grab any extra shots, more up close shots of details you'd like to include. My last tip is more of a personal preference, and I shoot all of my reference photos in color. I have learned my lesson from years past that even if I'm shooting for a monochromatic project, I still shoot it all in color because you never know what else you can apply this inspiration to, and you don't want to be left wishing you shot in color in a few years. Say, you want to do an oil still life or different color palette in watercolor. I always shoot in color and then just edit a copy of the photo into monochrome for my value reference. Now with all those tips, you should be on your way to your reference photos or your still life in person, and move on to the next step, which is sketching with thumbnails and troubleshooting your composition. 13. Sketching Your Composition: [MUSIC] All right, at this point you have some objects, maybe a location, or a bunch of things you want to try on for size. In this lesson, we're going to use thumbnails to create an arrangement of your objects in their environment and create a composition that looks good in monochrome. This lesson can be done either sketching from your still life while it's in front of you or using a reference photo to work through your composition with the thumbnails, I'm going to be showing you both processes in my sketchbook. If you need more information on taking reference photos, go back to the previous lesson to review. When doing your thumbnails with your still-life up in front of you, I find I like to work with maybe some larger thumbnails. It gives me more room to think around the subject and having the ability to physically move around the subject gives me the opportunity to really explore some different perspectives. When I'm doing the thumbnails here, I'm keeping it pretty loose at the beginning, then tightening in as I find if I like what I've drawn or reformatting that, erasing, resketching. Just seeing if the perspective is working, if the room around the situation is working, and if the viewer's eye is interested or not, if stuff looks awkward, you can take it out, move it around, and having that still-life in front of you also allows you to physically move those objects as well. Also, don't be afraid to potentially go down a road and then say it's not working. You can see the top thumbnail there I just abandoned it because it just was not working. This bottom one here, I've decided to crop into. That's always an option. [MUSIC] I have here is my favorite reference photo from the photo session that I did setting up my still-life, trying out different perspectives. I think this one is going to be great because there's not too much going on. I decided on one without the flowers because it was just too much detail when we're trying to just focus on values, these are the thumbnails that I have come up with to work through some problems and I'll just quickly review what I've found out, what I changed and moved around and what I decided to do. You can see here I'd started to think about cropping, originally I wanted to crop this in and cut off the edge of these grapes so it wouldn't be just near the edge, it would actually be off the edge. I ended up deciding that it looked better having this interesting negative space around it versus getting cut off. The remainder of my sketches included that space around the grapes because I just thought this is just great, great contrast that they'll show up really nice in monochrome. Now, the other things I was looking for, things such as bad tangents. There are a few. The stem here intersects with the window sill, the bottle and the glass intersect, and the level of the wine still in the bottle and the top of the glass or at the same level. All of these things I played around with different adjustments. Moving the stem past the window sill, moving the wine bottle or the glass in front of each other. The reason I chose to move the glass in front of the bottle and not vice versa is that this straight line of the bottle being in front is not as interesting as this curved line. This will make a more interesting juxtaposition of shapes and values that'll show up as more eye-catching in monochrome. Then the last thing that I changed around was I ended up blurring out this background just a bit more because every time I tried to draw it in, I just found it was catching my eye. This sill is quite a bit in shadow, so it was drawing my eye and not drawing it in and bringing it back in the composition. It actually brings you out of the composition. I thought if I end up maybe putting in the background more wet and wet, that will make a more atmospheric pattern of shadows behind it. Then I did try this last sketch here, deleting, not putting in the wine bottle at all and I just felt it seemed really empty and awkward, I decided that that just wasn't something I wanted to pursue. I didn't even put my values in this sketch. I just nixed it as soon as I knew it wasn't a direction I wanted to move in. The rest of them you can see I did sketch in my values and I'm working on that juxtaposition, that wavering between light and dark. You can see that this is how I use thumbnails to just visually think through these. I do draw them-- this is actually on a piece of watercolor paper. This is actually the sketchbook I use in my other Skillshare class, Problem Solving in Your Sketchbook, because it's Kilimanjaro from Cheap Joe's, because it has some sketch paper in between the pages. I can work out notes and my thoughts but this paper is nice because I really don't consider it precious and I can just use pencil on if I'm feeling like it or if I want to go through and do some watercolor studies. This is one I did previously, but different still-life. I can then, in the same page, go in and get into that. I don't have to have two, four pages floating around. You can see here this is the same process. This was working from a reference photo and I moved things around, made sure to align things this one here, the bottles in the center which didn't look good, so ended up so that both objects were at a third line, et cetera, and worked on the details, making sure that the contrast was highest where you wanted to focus. We're going to continue to work on this one here. I have now this photo with this similar cropping here in black and white. Since I don't have the photo with the bottle, I will be assuming, moving that around because I do want to move that bottle over. You can see this is my at-scale. it's about five by seven, photo. Then the other decision that I need to make at this time is, am I happy with my color choice? I did all of my exercises in Daniel Smith's neutral tint. I'm thinking this is a little bit too cool of a color for the design that I have picked out. I re-assessed what colors that I have available to me. I wanted a warmer color and I ended up choosing this raw umber. This is a much warmer tone, you can see from dark to light here, I think that this will be a nice sunlit, maybe antiqued a little color. In response to that, I did also do a new value scale, this one with just five steps, and to give you some variety, this one was done in the glazing method. It does look a little cleaner. I'm also way more familiar with this color than doing the value scale neutral tint you can see it did come out much cleaner. I'm more familiar with where these steps break down and how thick I'd like this to go. This will be the color I'm going to do my painting in. I'm going to move onto the next step. Get your chosen composition traced out onto your desired painting surface and I'll see you in the next video. I definitely feel like thumbnails are great tool for working through compositional ideas. If you have one or a couple of favorites, I really encourage you to post some to your project in the gallery. I'd love to see how you guys are working through your issues or ideas and really getting some new perspectives on what your still-life could be. If you're having any issues. I recommend posting a couple of pictures and your thoughts at the moment in the discussion forum below and we'll get back to you with some ideas, some different perspectives. Whether it's from myself or maybe some other students jump in with their own viewpoints. Once you do have a composition you want to move forward with, we'll jump into the next lesson. We're going to be starting our first layer of paint with the lightest values.[MUSIC] 14. Painting: Light Values: In the first of our demo lessons, we're going to be doing light values. In this lesson, we're going to be focusing on putting in maybe some light washes and just barely starting to delineate where our objects are. Another good way to look at this is pretty much just reserving the highlights and starting to denote what has any color. Then we'll add an extra layer to just start to build up those values and separate things a little. For the lightest values, the first thing you want to make sure you pay attention to is how watered down your wash is. You can see I've added plenty of water to make it a nice light wash. Then this very first layer, as I mentioned, we're pretty much just reserving the highlights. I'm planning on covering most of this area with paint, but to do this and not get hard edges as part of this puddle starts to dry, I'm working from one corner, down to the other, moving around to try and keep all of these edges active or wet. You can see I'm adding maybe even just clean water to keep the paper moist, and then coming back in with more pigment later. Just trying to be careful that I don't paint over any area that I want to remain completely white. That's pretty much what this layer is about. Another thing to mention is that your layer does not have to be one even tone across the board. You can see it adds visual interests to get areas that have this more fluid quality which watercolor is known for, and that will, even underneath all that extra layers we're going to add, is going to just create some interest. You can see this is now dry and I'm going in with the second layer. This is where I'm going to start analyzing which areas have more value, more volume, and start working with more of these either wet into wet to create a soft edge or blending out. Since this layer is not entirely or mostly covering the surface of the painting, I'm able to better control where I'm putting down paint, my wet edges. I'm able to address each section as I go along. I don't have to address a large section per se in this layer. There are areas that will be larger than others, but you can see I'm focusing on controllable areas. A good way to make sure you don't add too much detail too soon is to squint your eyes at your reference photo or at your still life and try and judge at this stage "Is everything I'm looking at a value below this, a value above this?", and now you can generalize areas and if most of the detail between objects happens at a darker stage, then there's no need to differentiate that detail now. You can see here to enact that wet into wet effect, I wanted to do the background to keep it not focused. I've added clean water and then I'm adding in pigment that will flow into that clean water to create some nice soft edges and give it a blurred atmospheric effect. Remember, you can always tilt your paper and absorb any extra pigment with a thirsty brush. I've let this first lesson's worth of layers dry. This lesson was primarily to block in our lights. That first layer I put on was probably between one and two, mostly just reserving my highlights. That next layer was more between two and three, and that was to start blocking in some form. It is a little bit difficult sometimes to think backward like this. You can work in whatever way you'd like, but this is, I found sometimes a nice, easy way to keep an eye on your value as to just work light to dark. We will move through and adjust things as we go. Don't worry about getting everything on the layer you're supposed to get it in on. The next layer though, we are going to start working on those forms and shadows a little bit more, and we're going to get into mid-tones. Okay, so we put in our lightest wash. You saw that first layer was basically just reserving our highlights, and then the layer on top of that, the first steps towards building value in those areas that do have, not white. In the next lesson, we're going to take that a step further. We're going to start building our mid-tones, adding layers, and starting to build the form of all of these objects separating the front from the back, shadow and light, and working through the bulk of that value range. 15. Painting: Midtone Values: In this lesson, we are working in the mid-tone section. This is the main section of the value range. We really start to get all your information, and it doesn't really seal the full deal the way contrast does, but we are taking that first section of layers, the light washes, and adding in way more form, value, and delineation. We're really going to start to get a sense for our still-life. This is also a great stage that you get a sense if something's working, or not working. So if you see something, either make a change or maybe go back to the first lesson, and restart with a different composition. This is a great section to just keep your eyes open and look out for any potential problems. So this lesson, we're going to start getting into that form and that shadow with a bit more detail and more darkness, so we're going to work on our mid-tones. That's going to be here on my little five piece value scales, going to be between three and four. If you're working with a ten-step value scale, that's probably around five, six, maybe getting into seven as well. This is that time in the painting where things are going to start looking like objects. This is a very washed out painting. We're going to start getting into defining, not really getting into those sharp details yet because usually those are done with that deep contrast. That'll be something we get into in that last lesson, creating contrasts. We're going to start in, and I'm probably going to start with my background first with a nice wet and white wash to keep that soft focus that I was talking about in my thumbnails. You can see, as I had planned, I'm starting with that background wash, much like I did in the other video except for this time I'm wetting the entire area of the background versus just where the paint is going to flow into. I'm putting down a layer of clean water, and I am working with now a slightly darker wash to start in the far left there and bring it towards the right. I am going to let it just wander though and create these nice pigment settling effects. Then another thing I want to do differently is I'm going to add more pigment to that corner and start to block in that suggestion of the window frame and just let everything flow and become very atmospheric. While it's wet, you can also just drop in extra pigment to emphasize that descent into shadow. I am making sure to dry this piece between these large areas because what I don't want is for the next area to bleed into that. In this layer, I'm going to start adding the volume to my main subject area, which is the bowl of grapes instead of starting with the glass and the bottle. I'm going to spend the most time on this area creating those forms, trying to get the shadows and that reflected light that's so prominent on both the bowl off of the table and in the grapes themselves. Sometimes, when you're dealing with a complicated subject like this where there's a lot of different intersecting shapes going on, it's helpful to work with the most basic shapes, this is the bowl, and just get that out of the way, and then dive into the more complex. You just take the next easiest step and work your way into that complicated area. You can see here the way I'm approaching the grapes and I'm adding in that shadow and then putting clean water next to it to allow some of that pigment to flow around. It'll seem like it flows around the shape of the grape. You get a sense for that illumination and the light that's passing through, but areas are still out of its reach. You can see as I'm working, I'm also taking care to blot out maybe areas where the paint has flowed too much. Now, I can regulate my value as it changes across the surface of the grapes and gives you that illusion of a convex surface. You're also going to see that I'm going to jump back and forth between different areas as the paint dries and I see if I want to add or adjust. I know I can go back into these areas in the next step as well, but it's always good if you see that you don't like how some things come out to adjust it as it comes up. On these lightest groups, I have to be extra careful that I don't add in too much or let it go too far towards the right because keeping those really vibrant highlights on the right side of those grapes where the light is striking it very brightly is going to create the main attraction for this piece, for this composition. I'm making sure to pay extra attention on those. You can see here, I'm starting to add in some of the value for the branches to start making visual sense of the composition. It does tend to make it easier for your brain to then analyze the other subjects. Moving into the supporting objects, which will be our glass of wine and the wine bottle. I'm starting with some crisp shapes in the value that's appropriate for this layer, so in my five scales, around a three. If you're working in a ten scale, it would be about a five, six. You're going to see that it's not going to be as detailed as the grapes. I'm even going to work to lessen some of the detail as it goes in, so I'm going to add it in and take it out; add some more in and take some more out just to find that perfect balance of definition and keeping it not the main subject. You can see here because the shadow under the grapes is also another important element of this composition that I filled in most of the shadow with paint, but that small section under the grape, actually, I fill it in with water and let the paint roll in, just because in a lot of these areas, there's a lot of reflected light going around, which is why using clean water to blend out and creating soft edges is so effective. I'm drying this again because I want to work on these highlights, as you can see in small moments here. I'm putting on water and then lifting out some highlights that I missed on the bowl. So we've finished the sessions on doing mid-tones. As you can see from watching me, that I was starting with the actual focus of the painting. This time, I spent the most time making sure that the grapes were properly shaded and creating form. I'm not quite finished, obviously, we have one more lesson to go. I'm adding in some of those deepest darks in details, but you can see, they have the most delicate interests. I spent much less time dropping in the background, doing the glass, doing the bottle. You can see, I'm definitely taking advantage of where the watercolor wants to just do its thing. So whether it's a bloom or where it flows back and forth, it definitely gives it a little bit more texture and lends a characteristic to these objects that are ceramic, that's glass, liquid. You want that fluid characteristic to come through, so it actually just make your painting more interesting. You can also see where maybe, the watercolor flowed too much and I either blotted it out with my brush, a thirsty brush, or with a paper towel. This one you can see is rather used, but it's extremely soft and absorbent, so I just used that to blow out small highlights, especially, down here. This is where most of my interests is. I want to pay attention to where there's reflected light. This shadow here is lighter here because it's also reflecting the lightness of the light coming through the grape, and then the grape also has a reflected highlight from the table. It's capturing these little details that give it that extra special touch. In the next lesson, we're going to go through adding in those extra emphasis on contrast in details. We now have our mid-tones in. You should really get a sense for your composition now, make sure everything's working. It's not going to look quite finished yet because that's what the next lesson is going to really give you that contrast. A lot of people who think their paintings aren't quite working; sometimes, it's just because they're stuck at this stage. It's that next stage that's really going to push your painting into grabbing the viewer's eye so let's move on to that one. 16. Painting: Dark Values & Achieving Contrast: We've made it to the final of the project videos. We are doing contrast and finishing touches to your painting. Now this is, I think, one of the more exciting stages of doing a painting. It just takes a lot of work to get there, which is sometimes why it feels so nice when you do. In this lesson, we're going to be adding our final dark layers. We're also going to be revisiting any areas that look like they're the wrong value. Whether we're lifting pigment or adding some extra layers, that may not be the darkest layers. Just to create a full value range, we're going to be looking at all of that in making those final adjustments. Because this lesson is all about creating the right kinds of contrast and making the composition work as a whole. As you can see, this last one the mid-tones were 3 and 4. We're going to be working in that four to five range depending on where we're working. Down here we're going to need to reach that five range. Or if you're working with the 10 step, that nine and 10 range versus certain areas where are not my focus or are just lighter in value. We'll get to whatever the next step is from what's currently there. You can see here, I'm focusing more on just adding the darkest elements of this composition. It's fun to add extra contrast, but I want to make sure some of these areas remain in those lighter value ranges. I'm not adding too much to the grapes. I'm focusing on the shadows, I'm focusing on the elements that are naturally darker like the side of this bowl here. I'm going to be careful to preserve those higher tints, so see here using clean water to blend in that darker paint wash to preserve all this reflected light that's happening. Then here, making sure that I slowly work at creating the illusion of this reflected grape on the bowl. It may take a couple layers of finessing this, blotting out, adding more layers. One of the reasons I also chose the raw umber is because it's a more easily liftable pigment. You're going to see here that I'm able to rewet areas, lift out, add more in, lift more out, and now I can achieve this delicate layering of all these reflected sources of light. I also just made the decision to tuck that grape back into the bowl. It just wasn't working. It's just a decision that you can play with as it goes, as you go along. Adding more of these extra darks to the edge of the stems just to make them stand out a bit more because they are significantly darker than the value of the grapes. You can see I'm starting on the background elements now. I've spent most of my time on the foreground elements, which is that bowl of grapes. Now I can slowly observe as I add layers to these background elements and I can stop when I think that the composition has achieved whatever look I'm looking for, essentially. Sometimes you don't know it until you see it. But here I'm adding in just the value to make the values look correct because you do want to make sure you get that. About what I'm going to be doing is blurring out some of the crispness of these layers because I want the values to be correct, but I don't want the detail to be as prominent as that foreground layer. Sometimes when you work in areas, you end up with these white borderlines. I'm just getting rid of some of those because they're not always apparent. Sometimes they're really nice to accentuate your highlights and they add a nice stylized element to watercolor. But I didn't want them everywhere, so just got rid of some of those. You see here I'm just taking some clean water and blurring. Softening these lines so that they're not as crisp. At this point, I'm just adding in some extra darks into the background to push that back some more. Then I'll just nitpick at areas I think that require more definition, separating objects, that thing, and wrapping up. It's important to not add too much darks while you're nitpicking and just getting carried away because it's the contrast that's important. We've finished the lesson of adding contrast and adding our darkest darks. You can see I got down to that number 5 value scale if you're using the 10 scale. It would be your 10th value. All that's left is for me to sign it. Usually, I don't sign my paintings until I know if they're going to be matted or etc. But since this is an exercise, I'm just going to sign it down in this lower corner. While that dries, we'll talk about some of the changes I may have made in the last lesson. Any of the detail that I had added and sharp lines and these two objects, I fuzzed out a little bit by just taking some water and then blotting a bit and then maybe adding some value back in while it was wet to just keep the value but lose the sharpness. The other thing I did was I moved this grape back into the bowl. As you can see from my reference photograph, it is not hanging outside the bowl. I had made that design decision to add interest, but I thought it looked awkward, so I moved it back in. Other than that, I just used this lesson to add those areas of super deep contrast and value. Just keep pulling back. so I'm just leaning back from my desk. Keep looking back or take a photo and look at the photo just to see where it's lacking. A good way to tell if you don't have enough value contrast is if you look at an area and you can't tell what's going on. This is especially helpful if you have this area here with the grapes where they're all the same average value. But then if you can't tell if it's receding or coming towards you, it means you need to make some differentiation. Even between these two light-valued ones, you can see that this grape is in front of this grape because there is a dark edge of the one behind it. Touch up your last layer here and we'll move on to the next lesson. Congratulations. We've finished adding contrast. If you're like me, I'm always still stunned by how much a painting changes in this last step. What we did was we looked at the composition as a whole. Make sure it's working, making sure our value range is moving the viewer's eye through the composition and directing it to your area of focus. We also made sure that if we need to add or subtract any pigment in the areas that may be distracting or not getting enough attention that we attended to those too. But now that your painting is done, 1, be sure to post it in the project gallery because I'd love to see them and 2, well, if you're wondering what to do with your painting now, besides, frame it and admire it, I have a couple bonus lessons for you coming up after this lesson. Feel free to jump into those and you can see some little tricks for using your painting after this. 17. Bonus One: Digital Manipulation: The benefits of monochrome don't have to end when you're painting is dry. In this bonus lesson, I'll give you a preview of how you can digitally manipulate your monochromatic work for added value. In this lesson, I'm going to just go over a little preview of how you can use a software like Photoshop to further what you can do with your finished painting. Here you can see, I have scanned in and cleaned up my painting and this is the file in Photoshop, and you can see I have it in the CMYK color space. That's because if I want to send this to a print house, it's already in a color space that most print houses would be asking for. You can always export it as RGB as well down the road. Now, I'm going to be working in what Photoshop calls adjustment layers. This is the window over here. If it doesn't show up in your particular layout, you go up to the window panel and select adjustments. Obviously I just turned it off. Adjustments. I'm going to be working first to correct the color that this scanned in at. If I'm correcting, I'm just going to keep it with these sliders and I need to move it to the right to make it less warm and increase the saturation. At the same time, I'm looking at my actual painting and seeing where it looks most accurate. I say that's looks pretty good to the raw umber that I have here. I also want to just correct some of this lack of contrast that it scanned in with, which does happen. I say, this looks pretty close to what I'm seeing in front of me. I'm going to label these original. If you want, you can label that raw umber, but we're just going to call it original and then go back to the adjustments panel. I'm going to add another hue saturation. I want to see what this would look like if I had done this in Payne's gray. Instead of starting here and you see going to the right and it's all relative to what I'd started with I'm going to click "Colorize" and then that way, wherever my slider is, that's the color or the data that it's going to show. I want it to be a desaturated blue. I don't really want to mess with the lightness because that does it across the board. I'll leave that one alone. Instead, because you see this flattened it a bit, I'm going to add another layer and just bring up this bottom slider so that it looks correctly contrasted again. This time I'm going to label that Payne's gray. Then same thing, this is added dark value. This is how it would look with Payne's gray, raw umber, Payne's gray. You can keep doing this and adding different colorways if you wanted to offer a print in various color ways, or if you were doing this, as we'll get into in the next lesson, for more stock imagery to be able to offer different options within a bundle. You could use this for a variety of purposes. Starting to see the possibilities with digital manipulation? In the next bonus lesson, I'll expand on that by showing you how to further apply your monochromatic work. 18. Bonus Two: Applications: In this second bonus lesson, I'll touch on some further applications for your monochromatic work. When it comes to thinking about what you can do with your monochromatic work, the first thing that always comes to mind is framing it and using it as just original artwork, which is always a great option and you even have some opportunity to play around with this as well. Whether you choose to frame it traditionally with a mat to a rectangular surface area, you'll get a nice classic painting look. Then if you choose to float frame your monochromatic watercolor painting and show off maybe some deckle edges, you get a more pencil sketch, off the cuff, or studious antique look to your painting, which can add a certain element of aesthetic style. The next thing gets into what a lot of artists get into naturally is that's prints. So whether you are just making prints of the original as is, or using the previous bonus lesson to digitally manipulate that hue and offer various color ways. There's a lot of options that you could go down, whether you're printing them off as is, or maybe printing and hand embellishing with some metallics or complimentary accents. There's a lot of opportunity there. Then the last section is such a huge element of possibility, and that's licensing. If you get into licensing with your monochromatic work, there's just so many opportunities, whether you get into just licensing a painting as stationary and paper products, or getting into some more 3D products. Maybe even offering vignettes of monochromatic work. It's a little easier to apply and so that could be used for logos, or the application I always think of, when I think of monochromatic painting is on wine bottles. I always think they have such classy labels and they just really look really appealing in that style. The other thing you can get into, besides more paper products like calendars, desktop images, etc. It's also getting into stock imagery. So graphic designers may be looking for something that's very simple that they can apply to a wide range of uses. Whether that's invitations, for weddings, baby showers, or for marketing materials. If you're able to offer them a really simple, widely usable motif, maybe in different color ways, if you're able to digitally manipulate that, you'll be a good first choice for them, and to further distribute your work. There's so many possibilities to apply your new painting practice. I definitely would love to know how you plan to share your new work. Add any thoughts to your project in the gallery. 19. Conclusion: Congratulations on finishing the class. In the lessons we started with your current materials and dove deep into exploring color as a standalone factor. Then after choosing our favorite color, we threw together a still life arrangement so that we could create a monochromatic masterpiece. After all we've covered, I hope you now share my love of monochromatic painting. From the minimal materials to the classic aesthetic, there really is an understated value to the process. Now, be sure to share your progress and project to the gallery for all of us to admire. Please post any questions along the way in the discussion forum below. Now, if you're on Instagram, feel free to tag your project with #valueofmonochrome so that I can see it and share your success in my stories. Now before we wrap up, please consider leaving me a review for the class and follow my profile if you want notifications on future offerings or updates here on Skillshare. Thank you again. I'll see you next time.