Once you have assessed a scene to read which layers carry the most content, you can make informed choices about how much you can afford to simplify the other layers. Combining shapes is a very effective form of simplification.
The idea is to make it easier for the viewers to take in the main message at a glance. Once they feel anchored in the story, the subtleties can be savored at leisure.
The following images offer opportunities for combining lights, middle values, or darks, or maybe even all three. Try a sketch first, then see if you can use this approach to refine a proper painting.
|Combining shapes means letting go of non-essential information. Some lights will be important to save, others don't matter. The same goes for texture.|
|Could the car and its shadow combine to good effect? Could they both combine with the building in back? Which lights need to be reserved?|