Step 1 is to find a picture you wish to paint. I chose this picture from our trip to Lagos, Portugal (the most southwestern tip of Portugal.)
Step 2: Blow the picture up to 8 x 10. Using a marker, outline all the different color value shapes; this requires lots of squinting. It's a little hard to see all of my marker lines..sorry. Macpherson says: "Choose your shapes...Nature may suggest shapes, but you must select the best shapes for your painting."
Step 3: Cut out the value shapes and trace them onto a canvas. This step explains Macpherson's philosophy of simplifying shapes for a good start. "Seeing the world as a mosaic of interlocking shapes helps you build your paintings simply and strongly from the start. Learn to simplify."
Step 4: Paint each shape matching the value of the cut out pieces--no details. Again, squinting lots. I started by pre-mixing all the blues, to me they were the first color note. Then I mixed the greens; and, lastly the warms. I really like this study. This color value study is an example of the ones Macpherson said to do "100 starts".
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Step 5: Using the same color values, paint a finished picture. This is a really good color value lesson. It's a good example of Macpherson's emphasis on color studies and doing lots of practice starts. Too often we just jump right in and start painting.