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Value is Key for Success

I have painted several BAD paintings recently. So bad I wiped them clean down to the gesso as soon as I felt I was done. It is a struggle sometimes but having bad paintings around can and will bring bad vibes. No reason to stare at a failed painting every time I walk into my studio.

So from my last point I really did focus on my basic pallet colors and mixing theory. I painted some paintings, and then bam, hours and hours brings forth sucky paintings that are awful. Why did these paintings stink? Well, they lacked value. Value is defined by how light or dark a color is. Essentially, how gray a color is on a value scale. I emailed Carol Marine some of my paintings and she emailed me back, while not offering direct feedback, she told me that value carries a painting more so than the color of a painting. She told me that I should mix piles of paint close together and compare all the values in the painting to one another and not just the values around a specific area in the painting (what I normally do).

In re-reading a section of her book (Daily Painting), I focused on an exercise that she prepared and I decided I really need to focus and do exactly what she tells me. In the end, I am happy with how it turned out, but like anything else, going practice makes you only better.

To start I began with a still life set up, played around with placement. Before I started with any paint I decided to draw my composition out in my sketch book. A book I read focused on this concept which is called "making a value map". This allows for you to see your darkest dark and your lightest light way before you start mixing paint.

The notches on the view finder helps me to make sure placement is correct with all items.
Still Life Composition with View Finder; this was not the exact angle I used but you get the point.

When you are doing a value map this is where you want to focus on how many values is needed. I decided there were 5 total values from White all the way to Burnt Umber.

Value Map - Charcoal and Pencil

Looking through the view finder I sketched out my objects using burnt umber than wiping off the excess to prevent it mixing with my top colors.

My First Value Painting - Final (8 x 8 in; Gesso Board Panel, Oil)

Looking at the painting, there are several areas I need to work on: Cup elipse (not a perfect oval), need to work on those handles, spoons are hard.

In the end, here is a look at my pallet when this painting (or when I felt it was complete).

Pallet - You can see the 5 values in the middle (white to burnt umber) in the middle. The other various colors I felt needed to be there to make sure the cup did not blend bottom board or background.

On to the next value study.


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