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Seeing Elements Through Tonal Art

NEW RELEASE: Warm Tone No. 9, 11" x 14" oil on canvas, Texas Collection Portfolio.

Artists give you opportunities to see differently. What do you see in this painting?

Here's a secret; this landscape is overloaded in acute triangles. Did you notice those strong geometric elements when you first looked at this painting? Technically, tonal painting allows to viewer to focus on the composition elements and perspectives rather than get overwhelmed by color.

Tonality is the lightness or darkness of an image independent of its chrome and hue. Skill in this style strengthens the artist's ability to paint more complex realism. For the tech-driven young generation tonal painting can be likened to adding a "filter" on your photo editing app to make it look antiqued or vintage. For us old schoolers, we create the tones by mixing a limited palette of paints and tediously blending a painting together.

Over this winter's painting season I've been brushing up on old skills learned in tonal art with these medium sized landscapes while on another easel I have been working on a large full color landscape. We, Fine Art majors at Ohio State University were introduced to this process as we learned to transition from drawing to fully saturated painting way back in the days when dinosaurs still roamed about.

If you are ever having trouble critiquing a painting, look past what the image is and look for how the elements are placed through the tones. A good image with good balance in the tones strengthen the overall quality of the piece of art.

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