Acrylic on Canvas Panel
16 x 20 in/40.6 x 50.8 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2014
The term value, a term that is frequently discussed and which 'throws" many new painters, means simply how light or dark--from white to black--a color progressively becomes on a scale of 0 to 10 with white being 0 (zero) and black being 10.
OK, stop. If you don't get the preceding paragraph, just stop and think about it for however long it takes you to understand what that means.
Think of the value of any color in comparison to white, black, or in-between grays. A handy tool available is a small card numbered 0 (white) to 10 (black) with grays numbered 2 to 9 that lets you hold it next to your color and easily make a comparison. Also, what's confusing is that some colors (yellows) will never have really dark values while other colors (reds) will never have really light values. (Just to confuse you further, many artists also refer to value as tone, but don't let it.)
Chroma is simply the intensity or brightness of a color. One way I remember this is to think of a watercolor. If you mix the watercolor with a lot of water, it lowers the intensity of the paint pigment when it's painted on paper. Conversely, the less water you add, the more intense or bright the paint pigment of the color when painted. Or if that is still confusing, look at the difference between Naples Yellow and Lemon Yellow. Naples Yellow has a lot of white, and a little red, in it, which lowers its intensity or brightness. Lemon Yellow doesn't have white, so it's a much more intense or brighter yellow.
Now you've got it. Sometime, we'll talk warm vs. cool colors.