Thursday, January 03, 2008

Days of Christmas Day Ten

On the Tenth Day of Christmas
I Give to You......


What do you see?

Do you see what you are looking at?

I don't think you see it.

So, I'm going to tell you.

If you examine each of the set of lips, you should see that the upper lip is always a darker value than the lower.

This is my mother. Notice her lips have color but the lower is a lighter value than the upper.

This is a sepia print of Ashley. When her lips are relaxed, she has a thin upper and pouty lower. She is always smiling and 99.99% of the time she is showing teeth. (I don't do teeth)

You can easily see in all of these pictures that the upper lip is darker than the lower. If you have trouble seeing that, then look at lips with squinted eyes and you will see the difference.

Of course it is all about the light source. And generally, the light is coming from above even when it is coming from an angle above. The thing is, we don't realize that our upper lip doesn't catch the light and in fact catches a shadow.

Looking at the lips in profile gives you a better understanding of how it happens that the upper lip is always a darker value than the lower. So, when you paint or sketch, try using a darker value of color.

Now here is a little homework assignment. When you are watching TV, start looking at lips. I'm really sorry that this will run you crazy and you may see nothing but lips for a while. It is how we learn through observation.
More later,


  1. Lovely lips, lovely hint. That squinting thing really works too.


  2. Great tip Sharon! I did notice right away but I didn't realize or I had forgotten...?
    Sending you art today.
    suze :)

  3. Great tip Sharon, I noticed that right away. I think I need to go draw a face now and see how much better it looks that way.

    These tips have been awesome.


  4. yes, it's like seeing the 'arrow' on the side of a FedEx truck. Once it's pointed out to you that is all you see. Yes, LIPS! What a great observation and something I have never seen!

  5. excellent post!
    off to go stand on my head so that my lower lip, which will be uppermost, will have a bit extra color for a moment ....

  6. Another great post Sharon.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ah, YES. I see!! I see!! Jeepers I didn't know this... great tip. I love coming her to get TIPS-y! thanks, Sharon.

  8. Now look what you've done!!! I've become lip-obsessed! Lol.
    What would happen if you purposely tried it the other way round? I'll try it lipstick later to see..

  9. Here I am here...#9 in line....late for class it seems. I have my 'Go To The Head of The Class' pass after the INCIDENT. (you know...ripping off the mouth a few posts ago) Had I known Day Ten was Lips 101 I would have called in sick and spent the day practicing like a good student. But here I am with my sketch book now...ready to look at lips, draw lips.....see ONLY lips.
    Oh, and pj...the FEDEX truck has an arrow on it?????? sigh

    xo Rella


  10. Oh are soooo inspirational! The lips I knew because I have been teaching art for the past 22 years.....but so much of what you have written gives me a whole new look at things. You continually show me something I didn't use that way or didn't know! Thanks you, thank you, thank you!!!! I look forward to learning much more in 2008......keep up the good work:D Hugs, Linda

  11. Oh Gooodnesss!! Yep, I am now going to only notice lips... I hope that replaces the whole counting thing I have been doing for 20 years... This was great!! And, love your creations!!

  12. It's a great observation, thank you! In moments like this I miss any art education so much, they would probably tell me this at school ages ago if I attended any art schools...


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