Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Comparing Values"

($50.00....6" x 6"....Water Soluble Oils on Gessobord)

"Comparing values helps create art and life." The ability to observe and compare is a necessary skill in order to create anything or to make good decisions in life.

Values are the one design element that can really hurt. This is the number one problem I most often observe in my own artwork as well as others. I've said this before, but it may be worth repeating that if you simply cannot see the values, then make a copy of your artwork in black and white. You will see it right away. And if you have created an oil painting and cannot make a copy right away because of wet paint, then take a photo...print it out...and then make a black and white copy of the image. If this is a consistent issue, then you will need to do this every time you finish a piece just to check yourself.

Another thing worth repeating is that this skill of comparing values needs to be practiced everyday. You will not learn all of the subtleties by painting once a month or even once a week. Today was my 86th oil painting and I can bear witness to the fact that values are still an issue. The reason I know this is because I have watched other oil painters who have painted hundreds of pieces and most of them can nail it every time. Virginia Vaughan is such a painter. She is able to match color notes perfectly. And if you can match each color note perfectly, then you have also mastered the values. 

It also helps to isolate a color if you cannot tell what it is in context. Just punch a hole in a small piece of cover stock and look through that hole to see the color you are trying to mix. It works every times it's tried. 

And if you are a mixed media artist, you will also need to check your values if you want your piece to read well. You still need some very dark values as well as the lighter ones and also the ones in between. The problem with mixed media has more to do with integration. In that case, you will also need to be well aware of the ehoes (or repetitive elements) in your work. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

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