Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tonal key studies on a very cold day

It's turned very cold and wintry again. I worked from my studio all day yesterday with the cats and we were extremely grateful of the underfloor heating! All of us lying around on the floor with snow whirling and blizzarding all around us.
I started work on a painting based on a series of photos taken on the beach on the ile de Bréhat one delightful summer evening. The beauty of working in the studio is that you can play around to your heart's content with preparatory work, whereas plein air you are usually in a rush to get started.
In these sketches I had already decided on the composition and was trying to plan which tonal value range to pitch the painting at. Using lovely chunky ProMarker pens in a range of warm greys I tried a low key palette, high key palette, mid range palette and finally using the whole extent of tones from light to dark.
Which do you prefer? I'll let you know soon which one I went with...


  1. That's an interesting exercise. I can see that each tonal range could work in a different situation (mist, bright sunlight, dusk etc) I like the full range and the low key for a sense of drama. I've seen Promarker pens around but not tried them, they look really good for this sort of work.

  2. I am immediately drawn to the low key (top left) study but think this might be as the strong foreground shapes make me think of the summer glare silhouetting people. I suppose it is the full range on the bottom right which makes me think of the current weather.

    Looking forward to your choice and final result.

  3. nice series! I agree with Bella Bee. I certainly prefer the low key image.

  4. I like low key and mid range best. Low key for a backlit effect and mid range for haze. I'd love to see it as a series, please do more than one!

  5. Looking at your tonal studies, the low key one works best for me.

  6. Hi there. Well, for me the low key has the most impact. I love high contrast. But I also love strong color, so how would that work?!

  7. Full Range for me Haidee. I don`t like Dark paintings and I don`t like very light paintings so, to satify me, it`s got to be the Full range one. incidentally, All are lovely studies, well done. and all the best Haidee.

  8. Il est difficile de vraiment faire un choix, toutefois le premier et le quatrième me plaisent beaucoup...
    J'espère que la météo va s'améliorer et que Demoiselle Printemps pourra officiellement vite faire son apparition.
    Gros bisous à vous.


Thank you for your words!

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