I always start a new quarter by explaining to my students how important it is that we develop a practice of simplification and analysis before beginning a drawing or painting. I have them do an exercise to find large simple shapes based on value within a reference image. This helps tremendously!
This quarter I decided to create a slideshow to illustrate the process. Below is the image i randomly grabbed off of my phone and beside it is the big, simple shapes I created based on value and space.
You can see that the photo of the forest nicely illustrates the HUGE amount of detail there is in the natural world! It is vital that we simplify what we see by grouping detail into large shapes while paying attention to the values in the scene as well as conceiving the view as layers of space - distance, midground, foreground.
We do this on the fly by thinking through the process of analyzing the scene, then making quick thumbnail sketches to record the simplified scene. This way we can refer back to the sketch when we become overwhelmed by the vast amount of detail before us!
For more on this, I invite you to checkout my slideshow
While working on my slides and analyzing the image, I became enamored with the scene and the moment i had a chance to get into the studio I started a painting based on this image.
Check out the other posts in this series to follow along with the process!