December 14th, 2016

Portrait in Three Values

Artist: Thomas W. Schaller, United States
Artist Statement: I’ve been working over the past year or two in an attempt to find authentic ways to apply my approach to [Ed: architectural] watercolor in the painting of the human figure and portrait work.

What I’ve discovered is that if I stick to my basic artistic priorities: designing with light – composing with shapes of three basic values (light, dark and mid-tones) – and never forgetting the importance of simple drawing – then my fluid style can work rather well regardless of subject matter.
For any subject, I try not to paint the actual person, place, or thing. But rather, I try to paint the way light models them, gives them life, and makes me react emotionally.

These quick black and white pencil studies help me to edit away unnecessary detail, and grasp the simple truth of the value compositions that comprise my eventual paintings. In my teaching I stress the importance of organizing a range of values to establish a sense of depth on a flat sheet of paper – from darkest darks – mid-tones – and lightest lights (often the saved white of the paper).
In simpler terms it’s black/white/and grey … but each value can be a bit more nuanced than that of course. That’s why these black and white tonal composition sketches are so helpful.

MEDIUM: Pencil
SURFACE: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

After a career as an architect in New York City of twenty years, Thomas Schaller now devotes himself full-time to artwork in the watercolor medium. Thomas has long been considered one of the foremost architectural artists in the world. In the field, he has won every major award for his artwork – including being a two-time recipient of the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize. He has authored two books; the best-selling, and AIA award of merit winner, “Architecture in Watercolor”, and “The Art of Architectural Drawing”. He is increasingly in demand internationally to conduct his watercolor workshop series, “The Architecture of Light”. His strengths as a teacher are to emphasize composition over technique or medium, and light and atmosphere over specific subject matter. His artwork is collected and exhibited around the world.



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