I have been teaching a lot this year. Very grateful! One thing for sure, students love demos. I love a demo. (A short one!) I get really anxious to paint once I feel the gist of the goal. And I know I love to somehow see what a painter is thinking. The thought process is so important. And those who have taken a workshop from me know I like to hand out "tools". I avoid formulas and try to help students find and use different segways into a painting. Here's some of my thought process illustrated. After we choose what to paint we
start with just a few exercises of first simply separating light from shadow. Continually asking ourselves, "what's bathed in the light and what isn't"? Now that's when you have a strong light source. Gray days are a different animal. That's another conversation. The second and third examples are refining values and their relationships. Then I interpret it in color. All doing this "at once". So in a "nutshell", I choose my subject and ask myself "what's my light"? And at the same time I am asking myself "what's my darkest dark (value) and what's my lightest light (value)"? Then I may see color first but I always apply the other qualities of color. Like chroma, temperature, value, local color.
We will also do the same exercise "separating light from shadow" when we have a figure model. I do the same thing with a landscape. Essentially I am trying to paint the light of the moment keeping the contrast between the shadows and the illuminated areas. I try to avoid a lot of contrast within the shadow and within the form bathed in light. Makes for solid reading paintings especially from a distance.