Friday, May 15, 2009

The Value & POWER of Value

Did you know the success or failure of the finished product is often determined by how skillfully the value structure of the painting has been managed? Whether you work in watercolor, oil, pastel, colored pencil or graphite; if your style is abstract, impressionistic or realistic, regardless of how you categorize your work, all paintings and drawings have one thing in common—the crucial design element of value.

The first day of the workshop I handed everyone a worksheet. The purpose of the worksheet was so they could begin to learn about value patterns. After that they began working on value scales which is not something most people are thrilled to do. I didn't hear too much grumbling though. Once they finished the value scale I had them do the sphere pictured above.

We talked about Dominant Value and Value Patterns then I showed them a series of photos of paintings in color. They had to determine the dominant value, the broad value scheme and whether the painting I was an example of good or poor value . Once they expressed their opinion, I showed them the same photo in black and white. Not only was it good for them it was very good for me.





The Impact of Value

Many of us look at a picture and determine whether we are inclined to do it based on the subject matter rather than considering the value content. I’ve been guilty of that myself. Even now I do not fully understand the basic principle of Value Patterns.

I’m finding there’s more to value than I ever thought. Value without color has the power to stand-alone – color without value can’t. Think about that! All by it’s self value can express – passion – drama – mood. Even though color is capable, it says significantly more if it has value to back it up.

My advice to you is, study your reference material and make a value assessment before ever considering whether or not to put your time and effort into a painting. At least that's what I plan to do....Linda

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