Thumbnails are quite rough ~ they are a true sketch. In a thumbnail, I check out the composition - rearrange things if necessary, simplify a little, and see which format I think will work best. Here, I've tried a horizontal and square format - and below, I have used the vertical format. This is the format I think will work best, so I've made a few field notes here as well - mostly noting where lights and shadows play an important role.
When doing a value study, connecting the darker values is also important. This will help tie the composition together and allow the eye to flow along. Isolated dark values need to connect somehow to other dark values.
This is where artists may want to use a notan drawing to see that this is happening.
Also, notice that I've been pretty careful to do this value study in the proper ratio for the canvas I will be using.
There's quite a bit of sketching in preparation for the beginning of a new painting! But, all this will pay off as you get started!
Keeping the "Rule of Thirds" in mind will help me compose an interesting arrangement. I'm not really diverging too much from the actual scene, but I'm looking to arrange things so that the eye moves through the composition and doesn't get lost or bored or move out of the picture completely.
The Rule of Thirds essentially says that the eye would like to see something interesting, compositionally, where the 1/3 segments of the picture plane converge. So, there are 4 such spots on the plane. Utilizing one of them will be a good thing to do. There's much more to compositional rules, of course, but this is a relatively easy one to observe.
That will be another post!
I don't really know of any artist who just sets up their canvas and palette and paints successfully without proper preparation. And - the several hours that this has already taken to work through is just the beginning! There will be more hours of analyzing color, mixing proper values of those colors, and applying the paint.
Check back in a few days to watch the progress of this one. There are some lovely passages of blues and greens that just capture the imagination and stir the heart with the beauty of God's creation!