|Evening Shade, pastel, 8x8|
I always encourage my students to do preliminary thumbnails in order to plan two key aspects of their painting: composition and value. Here's a very brief explanation of how I do this:
1) Composition: Consider the balance of large and small shapes, the placement of your focal point (often using the "rule of thirds"), and avoid placing a key element in the center of the painting (horizontally or vertically). Of course many of these "rules" can be knowingly broken, but that's another blog post for another day.
2) Values: Try to simplify the composition down to 4 or 5 value groups. If done carefully in your planning stages, this makes the beginning of the painting faster, easier, and much less intimidating.
|My thumbnail composition/value sketch.|
|Black and white reference photo.|