I have spent the last couple of weeks working on tonal and color studies for my next painting. I am only sharing a portion of the study (I don’t want to ruin the surprise of the whole piece!). These were both done digitally.
Tonal study – the purpose is to refine the composition and set up the value relationships in the piece, independent of color.
Color study – the purpose is to work out the color scheme to ensure overall harmony
Particularly when working from the imagination studies help to “get it right”. They ensure the compositional elements and drawing details, the value range of the piece and the color harmony all work well together. They offer the 500 foot view road map, so that when I am is on the road (the actual painting) I know where I am going.
It is tempting to either skip the studies all together or do very limited studies. After all the actual painting is the goal – so why go to all the effort? To be honest, this appeals to me too, but I have learned over time that “winging it” creates more problems than it’s worth.