Value Massing: Unfocus Wickers the Warmblood

A softened reference photo of Wickers to help the painter see the massed values of light and dark.

Up early today, it's going to be 90+ and we're not anywhere near summer yet! Have to get some outdoor things done before it's too darn hot.

What's that fuzzy thing to the left? Your eyesight is failing and you just can't focus? Well, it's just another method you can try to break a painting into large masses of values. 

This age-old technique is to squint your eyes at a subject and paint the simplified results. This doesn't work well for me; it's hard to hold my eyes squinty for any length of time and it starts to hurt! And we won't even mention what kinds of squinty wrinkles it causes....

I you happen to be nearsighted/myopic, try taking your glasses off and start painting those simplified masses. If this option is open to you (i.e. you're blinded without your glasses!) it's really nerve racking at first! I had to calm down and accept the shapes and colors as just that - not as an actual something. I use this method often when painting outside/plein air (for once, I'm happy to be nearsighted!) and it's helped my paintings a great deal.

Compare this massing method to the more formal color-coded post.