Working on Values

The fall season in California is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy a little bit of nature while working on your art.

As much as I wanted to take the paints out and smear some color on a fresh new canvas, I decided to be a good artist and study “values” today. What do I mean by values you say? While describing art, “value” is how you describe the light and dark qualities. Mastering the values is one of the most important skills you need as an artist. Not only for painters but sculptors as well. It’s as just important as the form!

Some of the things value can do, is give a 3-D effect. It illustrates the presence of atmosphere and like other composition factors, can guide the viewers eye around your artwork, landing right where you want it. So if you want to bump up the level of your work, study those values and I’m sure you will be pleased.

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Looking back at today’s exercise I wish I had used a simpler composition for studying the values, it would have narrowed down my focus. By the time I had all the forms drawn in, the sun had moved so much it left me little time to refine the values. Next time I’ll make sure not to have more that three objects, in my composition, and work on perfecting that.

On the right is a tool commonly used which makes you look at everything in one color. This forces your brain to focus on the values to differentiate one object from another. Notice the 9 squares around the red film, each with it’s own value. It’s a way you can assign each value in the composition a number. So when looking throught the “Value viewfinder” if a tree is a number 5 in the landscape, the tree in your drawing needs to be a number 5 also! Easy peasy.. right? Ha ha

In any case it all worked out, and I learned a lot, even though I didn’t get it perfect. The important thing here, is begin seeing and learning what values your really looking at and not be fooled by the variety of color, texture and detail. My drawing was off here and there, by just one step (one number). Soon you’ll be on your way to identifying the value scale at a glance!

If you’d like to learn more please follow me and leave a comment. If you have any questions please leave it in the comments and I will answer.

Good luck, have fun and work hard!


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