Monday, January 9

Establish Your Mid-Values First

I Established the Mid-Values First 
I was recently working on an acrylic landscape painting and wanted to tell you about something that I had forgotten about; that is, how important it is to understand  the values in your painting before you begin to paint.

As you know, value is the degree of lightness/darkness of a color. It usually is expressed as a gradation on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being lightest and 10 being darkest. I won’t attempt go into more detail here, but feel free to Google this topic if you need or want more explanation. This concept is sometimes confusing to people, although once you “get it,” you’ll understand why it’s important.

Anyway, what I wanted to tell you, and what I had forgotten, is that you should establish the mid-value(s) in your motif/painting first as you begin to paint. By mid-values, I mean a 4, 5, or 6 on the gradation scale (also known as the gray scale) previously mentioned, with 5 being the midpoint.

Why should you do this? Well, I have found that once you establish your mid-values, it is then easier to find (and paint) the lighter and darker values.

I’ll say it another way. It is much easier to figure out how light to paint your light values, and correspondingly, how dark to paint your dark values if first you establish your mid-values.

For example, in my simple painting above, I first determined the mid-value(s) in the foreground. After doing this, I was better able to judge how dark the shadows and some of the trees and vegetation should be. This also allowed me to understand how light some areas in brighter light should be.

If you’re not sure how to judge the mid-value, try to compare an area in your motif with 4, 5 or 6 on the gray scale. If you are working from a photo, see if you can convert it to black-and-white. This will make it easier for you to find the mid-values.

I hope you find this tip helpful.

Keep On Painting

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