Black and White to Gray with a Little Color

Nils Johnson

Back by popular demand, the Fine Arts Guild held an acrylic painting class instructed by Nils Johnson. The class started with black and white color mixing to learn value, which in the art world is essentially how light or dark something is on a scale of white to black (with white being the highest value and black being the lowest value). Working with a gray scale—lighter to darker shades of gray—the class learned about contrast, painting dark against light and light against dark. The class learned how to create 3D objects on 2D surfaces with contrast.

The class painted still life of a pear and another one of a wine bottle with a glass. While painting, they learned how to hold it by the end of the brush handle to keep the painting loose and “painterly.” A light transparent color wash was added at the end for a splash of color.