4 secrets grayscale reveals  
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Dear <<First Name>>,

Long before our eyes take in the finer points of a painting, our gut has taken in the value composition. Like the lighting in a room, value impacts our first impression profoundly and silently. 

Earthen Humor
Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 18"H x 24"W, acrylic on canvas. Available

My potter friend Bob makes life more enjoyable for everyone around him. I never laugh so hard as when visiting a family dinner at his home. In my dream, his land was covered in piles and piles of seeds. This legacy of his life of lyrical joy would beget such lush green growth that future generations would wonder what happened on this site. 

For abstract painters especially, it's easy to overlook value because we're so enamored with color. We get lost in all the textures and mixtures, while the unassuming powerhouse of value waits for us to notice what it has to offer.

"Value does all the work and color gets all the credit."
- Brilliant anonymous artist 

Value - the grayscale - reveals the foundation of our painting's composition.

Squint often while painting to notice what's happening in black and white.

First, are we even using the full range of values? Excitement is waiting to be had when we pursue the missing values.

Second, does the composition hold up in black and white? Ideally, our eye is just as intrigued to travel through the painting with or without color. If something is lost, this tells us we have an opportunity to vastly improve our painting by attending to the flow of lights and darks.

Third, how is our painting's value composition when turned other directions? Grayscale can starkly reveal whether the balance needs to be tweaked.

Fourth, are the beautiful parts still visible in black-and-white? Sometimes whole swaths of a painting disappear because the values aren't differentiated.

In this older painting, Seduction Bouquet, notice the whole top third is undifferentiated when viewed in grayscale. 

These details show sweet passages that are lost in black and white.

Once we see the problem, it's easy to dramatically enhance our painting by slightly upping the value contrast. 

Value is our secret key to successful painting, if only we remember to use it!

If you love abstraction, it would be wonderful to see you at one of my upcoming workshops, held conveniently over Zoom! Info below. 

Yours in the joy of beauty and spirit,

Julie Bernstein Engelmann

P.S. There's still time to join next week's Inspired Abstract workshop! 
Questions? Email me :-)


The Inspired Abstract
Birth your beloved and mysterious artwork
4-day online workshop with Julie Bernstein Engelmann

Held over Zoom, 10 am-3:30 pm
Through the Sedona Arts Center
Two opportunities: 
February 22-25, 2021
April 12-15, 2021

Also: July 13-16; September 20-23 

This workshop gives you a powerful foundation for abstract painting. You’ll be guided to enter the painting process naturally, use layers to develop a deep and luscious visual space, and weave into it brush-marks that grow from a personally meaningful inspiration. You’ll learn to see the spirit in your painting and help it shine powerfully.

A focus of the workshop is to find ease in bringing your mid-process “beautiful mess” to fulfilled completion. You’ll create two acrylic paintings that embody meaning, naturalness, and spatial depth and flow – qualities that lift an abstract painting from amateur to professional.    Learn More... 

"I love Julie: Her art, her teaching style, and as a human being. She always makes a workshop a delightful experience."

"Julie’s enthusiasm, well thought out lessons and materials were excellent."

"Julie is an excellent instructor.... Her passion for what she is doing is absolutely inspirational!"

Beautiful Mess Painting Clinic
Revitalize an unfinished or abandoned artwork
1-day online workshop with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Held over Zoom, 10 am-4 pm
Two opportunities:
March 13, 2021
June 11, 2021

Abstract and contemporary paintings can get stuck mid-process at a frustrating stage we call the “beautiful mess.” Don’t give up on them!

In this one-day online painting clinic, you’ll be amazed to discover that your unfinished piece is most likely only a few well-placed brushstrokes away from being fabulous. Starting with what you love in your piece, Julie will train your eye to see how to enhance the depth and flow, which is key. She will demonstrate relevant critique points to illuminate what is really happening in your painting so you can bring it home to fulfilled completion.

You'll focus on 1-2 pieces in any medium; acrylic is ideal. Attendance is limited to six for plenty of one-on-one attention.
   Learn More... 

"Julie's workshop was PACKED FULL of value. She was professional, knowledgeable and personable. I got so much out of her workshop."

Artist Mentoring with Julie
Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
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Copyright © 2021 Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Artist, All rights reserved.

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