Thursday, March 25

THE Easiest Way to Check the Values in Your Artwork

Today’s Image
Two Dinghies
Pastel on Paper, 2007
Copyright 2007

Just a quick blog today about a quick way to check the values of the colors or tones in your paintings. You really need to check your values when there is not much difference in them. That was especially the case in my pastel and Today's Image, Two Dinghies.

Here are the usual ways, no surprises:

For old-schoolers, use one of those value index cards that can have up to a dozen or so different values numbered from 1, white, to 12, black. You just have to compare the value of tone to your colors. Sometimes the cards have small cut-out circles so you can easily place the card right over the color you want to compare. But you still have to make the jump from a black, white, or somewhere-in-between gray to your red, blue, yellow, etc. to make the comparison.

You can also photograph your work-in-progress in black-and-white and then look at the image and see where you need to darken the whites or lighten the darks. Or you can use Adobe Photoshop Elements (or similar software) and select to view the image as black-and-white onscreen to see what you have.

BUT I use the quickest and easiest way to check the values in my paintings. It’s not a break-through. It’s not new, and there’s no magical solution. It just works very well for me, personally.

Simply TURN YOUR ARTWORK UPSIDE-DOWN on a flat surface, stand back about five feet (152 cm), and gaze at your work. It will immediately become apparent to you where you need to make corrections in your values. It works best if you’re in a subdued light or with the light coming from the side rather than from overhead.

This works especially well if you’re working from a reference photo and place the photo right next to your work. The differences in value immediately pop out.

It's fast, cheap , and easy. What more could you ask for?


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