I just finished the first exercise for Block 3 of Evolve Artist. Block 3 introduces colour, and there are twenty paintings to complete. Ten of these are from photos, and ten from life. This first one uses a photo reference, and as you can see, it’s very basic in that there are no gradients, highlights or reflections, and the composition is simple. Also, only the lights are in colour, with the shadows in greyscale. Colour shadows are introduced a bit later.
The simplification is part of Evolve’s method of teaching one skill at a time. Since colour is new, the first few Block 3 paintings focus on learning to mix colours accurately, matching them to either the photo or the objects in the still life box. After we get a bit of practice with that, gradients and the other refinements are reintroduced.
I was happy to start this Block, after spending the last several months painting exclusively in greyscale! It was fun to unpack the new supplies box (with materials for Blocks 3 and 4), which arrived a few weeks ago. New paints are always exciting 😀
So onto my painting. First off, this is a terrible photo. I edited it quite a lot to try to make sure the colours in the photo matched my actual painting – important for the instructors to be able to give accurate feedback – but didn’t do a great job, and the overall white balance is off. So that’s something I need to improve going forward.
Photography issues aside, I enjoyed this painting, and was reasonably pleased with the result. Some edges are a bit messy because I didn’t realise the colour wouldn’t be opaque enough to cover the grey where I didn’t get a clean line. Lesson learned! I also didn’t match all the colours perfectly, but didn’t get them all wrong either. Colour mixing is pretty time consuming for me, and I’m a bit concerned about how much time it’s going to add to my already rather slow progress through these exercises, but hopefully I’ll get faster with practice.
While I’ve always used colour in my own paintings, I haven’t had to do this kind of very accurate matching before, so it’s a new skill really. It’s certainly time I developed a better understanding of colour theory. Evolve doesn’t seem to go into this very deeply, with the videos for this first exercise focusing on practical examples, with a bit of discussion of the basics of the colour wheel and things that I already know. But I’ve bought a book that they recommend, Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green, which looks like it’ll be helpful.
Next up is another simple painting like this, but from life rather than a photo.
See all my Evolve artist paintings.