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To create any sense of three-dimensional form you must have at least three value changes to make it happen. You need a light value, middle value, and dark value. Not necessarily in that order and it is not limited to just the three. The stronger the value shifts, the stronger the dimensional outcome will become. All of this holds true for both realistic or abstract work.

Some simple concepts to remember when drawing or painting to create more depth and movement in your artwork are...

  • Light values and bright colored objects move forward.

  • Dark values and dull colored objects move backwards.

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The key to drawing, as well as to painting, is to look at the world around you in terms of basic shapes. By doing so you begin to see the foundational structure of the object or objects, therefore allowing you to build off of a framework that will guide you to a more accurate representation of your subject.

The worst thing you can do is to give things a name. Once you have identified the reference with a name you automatically have hidden biases about what that object is and how it should look. Giving things names makes it impossible to look at them objectively. This also applies to abstract work as well. Think only in terms of basic shapes.

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In the coming weeks, I will be sharing small insights into my thoughts and the processes that I use to search for new ways of creative expression. Each creative insight is not complicated but will help anyone, no matter if painting realistically or in the abstract.

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