A few weeks ago my blogging buddy, Peter Ward, posted the photograph below along with his painting of it. Peter is engaged in an interesting project making a set of paintings of native americans from old photographs.
In my comment on his picture I mentioned the fact that the wide range of values in the photograph were not part of his picture plan. Peter asked at the time how that might be done so I decided to have a bash myself using the same source picture.
One of the difficulties with watercolour is representing the darkest values without using thick paint and little water and thereby losing one of the great appeals of the medium, its ability to convey a sense of luminosity. Making the darks interesting is another challenge and that requires sensitive use of mixes to retain inherent value and colour interest.
My own work often suffers from poor value range and I have spent some time thinking about ways to improve it so I relished the opportunity to give this project a go.
Whilst only partially successful, poor drawing and some insipid passages, there is a reasonable value range without getting to the darkest end of that spectrum. So all in all I think it needs a bit of dark boosting. The danger in attempting that would be to turn the darks into a muddier broth than I have at present.