The Card Game
Watercolour / Gouache
24 x 31cm
Recently I've been trying to separate the foreground, middleground and background into three tonal values, light, mid-tone and dark. It's proved to be very useful, however when it comes to interior scenes the three stages can become very muddled. The background comes forward and pretty much takes over the middleground which leaves me with very difficult tonal decisions to make. I decided to place a soft spotlight on the card table so the light would highlight the figures seated facing the viewer also producing the highest contrast. This also means that the rat and stoat with their back to the viewer would be in shadow as the light would be hitting their fronts (which you cannot see). All that is left to play with is the mid-tone which I placed in on background vixen and badger, also notice that I reduced contrast not only on the characters at the back but also the barrels and spirits on the shelf above, not only to fit in with the 3 tone scheme but also to suggest a smoky haze in the air which would nullify extreme darks and lights.
In summary I now have dark on light on mid-tone. I'm sure if I were able to set this scene up and photograph in reality the shadows and tonal range would be completely different but that's where artistic licence comes in to save the day.
The overall intention of 'The Card Game' was to produce an image that at first glance appeared whimsical and pleasant. It wasn't until the viewer took their time to study the scene that they could see the game of cards is about to turn very sour indeed.
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