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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3 Reasons to Care about Value

'Raven Spirit' 5x7 pastel on Rives BFK ©Karen Margulis

What is all the fuss about Value in painting? When I was beginning to paint I never understood why we needed to care about value. I would read about it and hear other artists despair over being value-challenged and I just pretended to understand. Sure, I knew what value was...the relative darkness and lightness of a color...but I didn't understand why it was so important to a successful painting. My 'lightbulb' came on during a workshop with Margaret Dyer (one of my favorite artists). I saw how she blocked in her paintings by value shapes and how she was able to get wonderful and unexpected colors in her work . It finally clicked. I now understood the importance of value and it has made a big difference in my work. So why should you care about value?

It's All About the Value....black, white and grey Mt Vision pastels on Rives paper

Value doesn't have to be a complicated concept. I was overwhelmed as a beginner by the idea of value. A good start is to understand the importance of seeing and controlling Value.
  1. It is value that allows you to create the illusion of something 3-D on a flat piece of paper. You can model form and create the illusion of space & distance by adjusting the lightness and darkness of an object.
  2. Seeing & controlling value will help you design stronger paintings. A strong value pattern / cohesive areas of dark and light gives your painting structure and can help lead the viewer through your painting.
  3. Value helps you use color more effectively. You can use interesting and expressive color choices if you pay attention to using the right value color in the right place (a topic for future blog post) You have heard the saying "Value does all the work but Color gets the glory"

This week I am working in black & white to take away the distractions of color so I can focus on value. Tomorrow I will share my approach to doing value studies for a painting. I invite you to share your experiences with value and come back again. Consider signing up for updates on sidebar.

1 comment:

michellehedgecock said...

What a gorgeous raven! You have captured "raven" so beautifully, I am in love with this painting :) These birds are my favorite to paint, in fact I'm about to finish a white raven (spirit raven) and this is how I came across your blog! A happy, happy journey of which I'm so glad I found your blog/work. I love your pastel paintings--as I explored around here, reading some of your other posts, know that you have encouraged me to revisit my own journey with pastels (an extremely new, beginner's journey!). Thank you for sharing your work here, and your knowledge and guidance as I look forward to learning more from you here and probably YouTube as well :) Cheers!