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Brownie
09-25-1999, 02:27 PM
It seems I have ALWAYS been struggling with the concept of value in color. Does one EVER reach a point where it comes easily?
I wondered if any of you had some secret exercises or techniques for developing this ability, as I swear putting something grey next to the color in question to determine where it lies on the value scale is most difficult for me. I even sometimes wonder if my eyes "see" the colors differently than anyone else ...
Am I the only one? Brownie/FL

bruin70
09-25-1999, 03:35 PM
your question sounds odd in the way you express how you go about determining the "value" of a color. why are you placing a grey next to a color to determine where the it lies on the value scale???????? the color's value is only important in relation to the other colors around it. sounds like you're isolating it's value property by scaling it to an independent grey....milt

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

Johannes Instructor
09-25-1999, 06:42 PM
Value is as important as color. So you are right to be concerened about it. It will make or break a painting. But don't worry so much about the 10 variations of values. Most professional artists only concern themselves with 4 values plus white and black. See the chart below. With this range it will be much easier to match your values. With this value scale you have enough to work with. Most professional paintings can be categorized in these values if you take a black and white photo. To help you understand this a bit better. Look at the color wheel. The colors on the top are the lightest value (yellow)and as you rotate you get the purple which is the darkest in value. The in between colors are the different values.
Some artists use a pallete for mixing colors with a neutral gray background in an exact midvalue (half way in the value range). If you mix your colors on this palette you can immediately judge if it lighter or darker than the gray value.

Johannes Instructor
09-25-1999, 06:48 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/LearningGallery/22_value_chart.jpg

[This message has been edited by Johannes (edited 09-26-99).]

bruin70
09-25-1999, 07:23 PM
brownie,,,,,value is MORE important than color, unless you do color statement paintings, like impressionism. in realism , value is THE primary concern. almost every painting that fails can be sourced to improper value. but before you get carried away, it sounds like you're overthinking. if you paint a fellow with a yellow shirt, are you concerned that the yellow you use is too light or dark?...it is yellow. and it's value attribute is important only in how it sits next to other values and colors. if you try to paint EXACTLY what you see, you're asking for trouble.
johannes, the value/color thread was briefed on your other thread. this value/color relationship that you and moose express differs from mine,,,unless we are looking at the same thing from different angles. you're explaining value as an ATTRIBUTE of color( as in the color wheel), it seems. value is an element unto itself. it is the structure of art. compositionally, it is good placement of lights and darks. in defining form, it is the proper perception of value that gives form its definition. in both cases, the purpose of good value is to clarify an image. with good value, you can use any color you want...it may look bizarre, but at least it will hold the painting together. color is icing on the cake.
sargent visited monet to attempt his palette,,, and after periods of frustration, he gave up and said "i cannot paint without black".

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

[This message has been edited by bruin70 (edited 09-25-99).]

bruin70
09-25-1999, 07:30 PM
brownie,,,can you post an image? your problem may be better explained. or try this. practise painting with black, white, and a warm color. after you're comfy,,,add a cool to your other three colors.etc

Brownie
09-25-1999, 09:26 PM
I appreciate all the responses! Nice to see there are so many who think of these things... Bruin 70, not having had too much art instruction other than adult ed and currently on and off a professional portraiture painter, they all seem to approach color from the value scale of white to black in increments of grey tones. Perhaps Johannes idea of taking it to only 5 values might make things easier for me, but a painting I am currently working with involves my bird requiring much green and more green and more green! In studiying it, hoping I was FINALLY at the "ok, I'm done" point, I noted that the leg feathers lacked shape due to lack of value! And, it just seemed to me, I shouldn't be having that problem when working with multiply-colored items. In portraiture, those middle tones, mid values, just about drive me nuts! So, is it just a matter of practice and more practice? I have used Sandi's squinting eye method which helps a lot, but still I feel it's a real battle.
Brownie
PS Anyone know why I'm a "junior member?" Rather humorous considering my age! <G>

bruin70
09-25-1999, 09:34 PM
maybe we're looking into a room from different windows, i suspect. but i don't understand WHY they're teaching you this way...ok,,,so say we have yellow and it is scaled from a light almost white yellow to a dark almost black yellow. somewhere in the the middle or above the scale is your pure yellow. so now ,,,what are your teachers telling you to do with this example????? i truly expect they are confusing you with all this info.....milt

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

Brownie
09-25-1999, 09:54 PM
Bruin, They're trying to teach us this concept because, I suspect, so many beginners tend to have everything the same value. I remember some landscapes I once did and recall that, although the colors changed, I seemed to have difficulty getting the darks dark enough and the lights light enough--missing values! In fact, a portrait oil alla prima sketch I was doing yesterday gave me some problems as well. I thought my darks were dark enough, but when I toned the background canvas, suddenly, of course, the darks no longer seemed adequate because they were no longer against a white canvas. It's just that type of struggle that I thought I'd be past by now. Again, and I am not being facetious here, I do wonder if my very odd eyesight prevents me from grabbing those darks at the onset... Prehaps it's all a matter of time, patience, and more time!
Back to your question, though, take a look at the new Sanden book, and it's all about values. One artist who has videos out has the value scale on the spine of the video boxes...so I guess it's a fairly universal approach. Why they just couldn't have said, lighter or darker beats me! Brownie/Fl

Johannes Instructor
09-26-1999, 10:31 AM
Take any painting and change it to gray scale and match the different areas to the value scale I posted above. I bet all the areas will fall into those values. There could be some parts that would fall in between, but it would be so subtle that it doesn't matter. When painting think about the values above. If it falls in between the difference is so little it won't matter. Also the color wheel does show the different values when seen in gray scale of course there can be a very light red and a very dark red. But this is so they get the hang of matching color with value.

[This message has been edited by Johannes (edited 09-26-99).]

bruin70
09-26-1999, 07:48 PM
this isn't about all the subtleties of rendering the box. as i stated, it's just a simple what colors brownie would use to render it. in other words ,,,just three simple values on the box and how brownie was taught to execute them. complexities later on but B said she had a problem figerin out what to do as told by her teachers. i wanted to see what she would do. maybe i take for granted what others have to "think" about. anyway, her abc's, which seem to be understood by everyone here, is greek to me, and it seems like she's thinking too much........milt

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

bruin70
09-26-1999, 11:21 PM
another question, brownie. when you start a painting, say a still life setup, dark backdrop, white table cloth, various items of a wide range of color and value.....after your initial drawing( if that's what you do) what do you lay in first? what are the first things you put on canvas?,,,,,milt

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

bruin70
09-27-1999, 12:45 AM
i think you're being taught wrong. the concept the teachers are trying to convey may be right, but they may be "exampling" improperly. after all,,,,they're missing the mark with you.... tell me what you would do here...we have an cerulean blue, 3-d box. the light source is side, slightly above the box so that its side gets the most light, its top gets much less( light source is at a very acute angle to it), and the third side gets no light....how will you render the box? what colors will you use to paint its three sides??? BE SPECIFIC,,,,,milt
don't set this up,,,you can imagine the box in your head and just PAINT IT IN YOUR HEAD. and don't worry about reflected light, or shadow, or any of that extraneous stuff. JUST THE BOX. what would you do? if you need to actually paint it out , do so.
btw,,,,,,ALWAYS paint on a toned canvas, not white. so you won't run into those problems you had.

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe



[This message has been edited by bruin70 (edited 09-26-99).]

Brownie
10-10-1999, 03:23 PM
Bruin, When I used to begin a painting, I usually laid in the darks...that's how I was taught. My current portraiture instructor uses a light grey tone, working towards dark and darker, light and lighter as he refines the painting. Since he studied with Sanden, he basically uses his techniques, but he makes it less complicated than Sanden's latest 29 steps! <G> Makes me wonder what WAS he thinking...who can easily follow 29 steps?
Last Tuesday's session was very rewarding for me, I'm pleased to say.
I think you KNOW and don't struggle with values because you obviously can SEE them. I truly have difficulty SEEING them unless I have good, natural light, something that is often missing in instructional sessions. Even in our portrait groups, where we paint sans instruction (tho many of us COULD use a bit of constructive guidance), we often have terrible light, flourescent w/no natural light at one place, awful! I can barely see the model's tones, less enough mix a good range of values.
In terms of HOW would I darken the value of a particular tube color, I would either add the compliment or perhaps some gray or some black, or a darker tube tone of that color...one of the many things to learn about oils I guess. Grumbacher makes a chart that gives one the TRUE compliment of a color which I hope to have the time to work with more.
I was just hoping here to find some tricks that you here had used for yourselves to make some of these decisions a bit less difficult for me. Thanks for all the input, Brownie

bruin70
10-10-1999, 04:48 PM
placing your darks is the best way to get good results. darks are the backbone of a painting and anchor the subject. without it , your painting will "float". i guess some may need "steps", but if these are confusing you, disregard them. i don't always paint the same procedure. the "idea" of 29 steps makes your process sound like a math solution. lights will always pose a problem, do you at least have a lamp shining directly on the model. i'm still trying to hone in on your problem, then we'll advance...so is it that you can't transfer the values you see on the model , to your canvas... or you just CAN'T SEE THE VALUES.,,,as in, you need more light and to be up real close to actually see anything. or,,,say, if you're painting the nose, do all the planes on the nose become indistiguishable and you can't break them down,,,,or can you see the values but can't copy them to canvas. is color entering into all this confusion? the greatest portraits are all almost monochromatic,,,very simple,,,clean. i'm wondering if the process you're being taught is messing you up. as a point of reference,,,do you have any sargent books?. which ones? give me title and publisher/author,,,and we can use that as a point of reference.....milt

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

[This message has been edited by bruin70 (edited 10-10-99).]

Brownie
10-10-1999, 10:35 PM
Milt, I think the answer is "yes" to ALL your questions! Yes, the many slight variations of value on a nose ARE difficult for me to see. In most of the settings I find myself painting portraits, the lighting is not set for MY benefit, and people can become oddly selfish in this area I've noticed with surprise.
As far as Sargent's books, no, I don't have any. Usually I feel that the pictures in these books don't show what I want to see, namely, the actual close up strokes! Aren't we all like that? We see a painting and run up and almost put our noses on it!? I know a bunch of painters like me who do that, so I tend to think it's universal...maybe not.
But, I'd be interested in knowing which books you find most helpful, most exciting, most stimulating for your painting.
And, back to values, it is the transference of identifying where colors fall that I find difficult. However, in just watching a Van Wyk alla prima portraiture demo, I noticed a few times she would also have that trouble, so maybe I'm just normal? Nah, never! <G>
Brownie

bruin70
10-11-1999, 12:42 AM
i've always found books VERY helpful. i can see brushwork. the reason to have many books is that they all are printed differently,,,accentuating different colors, so therefore different strokes will appear. the best sargents to study are his studies and quick portraits of friends. also there's one watercolor of an old man that is absolutely instructional on the planes of the head. sargent's finished pieces may be too finish for you to gather info from. it'll be hard to gather my thoughts in one sitting, i may miss things... so i will post followups here. and also referals to other images i can pull from the web. you do so too...if you see a head painting post a link and i'll try to explain........
here's the first and most important lesson in value... LARGE THINGS HAVE MORE SURFACE, THEREFORE WILL REFLECT BACK MORE LIGHT, AND THEREFORE WILL APPEAR BRIGHTER,THAN SMALLER THINGS. A 12" SQUARE WHITE PAPER IS LARGER THAN A 1" SQUARE WHITE PIECE, WILL REFLECT BACK MORE LIGHT, SO WILL BE BRIGHTER THAN THE SMALL PAPER. WHEN YOU PAINT THE TWO,,,YOU PAINT THE SMALL PAPER LESS BRIGHT THAN THE LARGE.
SECOND LESSON,,,,CURVED THINGS REFLECT BACK LESS LIGHT THAN FLAT THINGS, BECAUSE THE LIGHT REFRACTS IN EVERY DIRECTION, WHEREAS A FLAT SURFACE WILL REFRACT BACK ALL THE LIGHT. YOU PAINT A BALL A TAD DARKER THAN A FLAT SQUARE OF EQUAL SIZE,,, THE ONLY PART OF THE BALL THAT IS EQUAL IN BRIGHTNESS WOULD BE THE CENTER OF IT, REFLECTING BACK DIRECTLY TO THE LIGHT SOURCE. NOW TO COMBINE THE TWO LESSONS...IF YOU PAINT A PING PONG BALL ON A WHITE SHEET OF LARGE PAPER, LOOKING DOWN ON IT, SO IT'S WHITE ON WHITE/CIRCLE ON SQUARE,,,,YOU PAINT THE BALL SLIGHTLY DARKER BECAUSE IT IS BOTH SMALLER AND ROUNDER THAN THE LARGE FLAT PAPER. the head is nothing more than a multitude of flat , slightly curved, and round forms of various sizes.
you can apply this to anything you paint. of course, this all assumes that the light is flat and even. this is prefered in portraits, to show the full head. too much shadow breaks the head up.. so if you're ever confused by the many illusions light will play on an object,,,always refer to this as your standby guide......milt

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe




[This message has been edited by bruin70 (edited 10-11-99).]

bruin70
10-11-1999, 08:48 PM
it occured to me that organizing your palette might help. first,,,pick a basic flesh tone/color. i suggest that you use whatever you use for the forehead. mix a big puddle of it in the center. squeeze out colors you intend to add to your flesh...black, every portrait artist needs black/grey...blue, for your cool...white or light color...and a warm color. make a gradient mix of these colors to your center main flesh color. now you can see almost all the colors and variables you will need to find your proper color. go here http://members.xoom.com/tootie1/palette.html . as an example i chose a random flesh tone, a black, a blue, a light, and two warms,,,,and graded them to the center flesh. now you can go as light or any variable in between, or as reddish or any variable in between,,,etc,etc. for flesh in the shadow area, i use a blue/warm mix because flesh doesn't go just blue in shadow.
also,,,use a big palette surface and big cups and cans(coffee can size) for your medium and thinner. this way you can mix freely, and not diddle in small areas. use a medium to butter up your pigment so it'll flow nicely. and use paint thinner NOT turp. turp breaks down your pigment.

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"he who thinks he know all and knows nothing is king in a kingdom of one,,,,,or a critic" - the kobe

Painter
01-01-2000, 07:18 AM
Neat discussion. Brownie, squinting is perhaps the best way to reduce the effect of hue(color) and saturation. Johnnes is correct in that if you reduce the main value areas in your painting to 3, one light, one medium, and one dark at the beginning of the painting, your small strokes will have a home . Bruno 70 has much good information, but he is way over what, I think, is your concern.

R.B.Hale has written several good books on fundimentals. He stresses that to a large extent values are used to identify planes regardless of the light source.

If you can begin to see the planes, then the values will be easier. In fact, in most observation, reality is quite vague. Most of the structure has to come from the artist. Many times people with less experience think painting ought to be like a photograph. But people aren't cameras, and we see by making decisions. When you are making decisions, you have some control over what appears on your support. If something isn't working, then look back over your decisions, and decide something else.

As Turner is supposed to have said, "Painting is a rum thing" Although I don't know what the English mean by "rum", I think he meant that no rule works entirely. Good luck. You started a real discussion.

God Blesses!
Ched

bruin70
01-01-2000, 07:38 AM
hey painter,,,,you can call me BRUIN70 or milt....but i've never been called BRUNO before.....

Brownie
01-01-2000, 05:00 PM
Ched, I hate to admit it, even squinting has failed me miserably at times--particularly when the lighting is so bad that all I'm seeing is a dark for the whole face or just a light...no an easy task for me under those conditions. And, a subject not often discussed: for ME, it is VERY important to be close enough to be able to actually recognize this individual again if we were to meet face-to-face on the street. Sometimes I'm so far back in a painting class, I really wouldn't recognize the person even after staring at them for 3 hours! I seem to be alone in that quest, however, as most of those I paint with like to be about 12 feet back from the model while I prefer 6 to 8 feet max.
I just was looking at one portrait from a particular artist's studio session where the lighting changes completely during the alloted time. It's so darn dark, I'm amazed I was able even mix any of the flesh tones. Lighting and seeing are everything for me!
Happy Y2K, guess that those of us who weren't planning for The End were right after all! (At least I sure hope so!) Brownie

Painter
01-07-2000, 04:58 AM
Brownie: An old way to begin to see values is to use a "black mirror". Paint a sheet of glass black on one side and look at your painting with it. It will simplify the values in your painting for you. If you arew really radical, look at the "subject" that way.

Also, if you see the face dark, paint it like that! See what happens.

Bruin 70: oops!



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God Blesses!
Ched

henrik
02-09-2000, 01:09 PM
The black mirror effect can be observed on any bus at night or in the subway. Bring your scetchbook along http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Tip: check out "Paint like the old masters" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/082302671X/o/qid=950118660/sr=8-1/103-8322968-3931022

There are variations to how the B/W underpainting is done. This book is great!

seaking
02-09-2000, 04:02 PM
I even sometimes wonder if my eyes "see" the colors differently than anyone else ...
Am I the only one? Brownie/FL[/B][/QUOTE]
Brownie,,
Have you ever noticed that some older women wear roughe and lipstick heavily applied usually in red rather than pink tones? as well as very dark eyeshadow? You may note too that these particular ladies who do this are also wearing very brightly colored clothing?
The reason I bring this up is that I, being at one time an ophthalmic technician/photographer learned that there is a degeneration of the retina in the eye that occurs as we age. In degrees varying from barely noticable to extreme degeneration. It is called macular degeneration. Interstingly the first color range to fade is red. It can derade to the point of seeing red as gray. My theroy on painters of old with certain "techniques" such as elongated faces and fingers as noticed in religious works is: possibly the original master of this type of painting was an astigmatic. Meaning his cornea or lens either one, misshapens the actual image he is seeing. Then a student continued on with this technique as coming from "The Master". At anyrate...how we see things is definately connected to any pathology we may have going on in our eyes and brain. Any comments?

belladonna
02-10-2000, 12:45 AM
Some of the old masters painted the entire picture in just black and white (and greys), then they would glaze the local colors over top and the effects were quite stunning. I have a friend who does this all the time. You might try it for one picture and see if it helps you sort out your value problems.
I have never heard of using a black glass to look at ones values! Hmmmm sounds interesting, something that I might try sometime.
P.S. Bruin .... Who is this guy kobe?

Mich451
02-16-2000, 05:25 PM
That was a similar theory as to why some Impressionists painted as they did. When I remove my glasses, I find it easy to paint in the impressionistic style, I just can't see the subject. After painting many hours, the colors also seem to get muddier.

sasha
03-20-2000, 09:45 AM
Try doing a lot of studies from life. Small without a lot of detail. Go for the main blocked areas and key to notes to value and then color. squint to see the relationships. When you start looking too much into the detail you loose the sense of the whole reationships. Keep working with these small studies until you have a good sense of value/color relationships. I wouldent call it just value; but value/color and seeing the whole. If you get a small study right and want toi go for a more finished painting you can reproduce the color relationship exactly from the small one. This take some practice but has to do alot with seeing the big forms and not getting lost in the individual objects themselves You will learn alot by just laying out the value/color notes in the large local shapes Even when doing a very finished picture you always have to go back to that concept. It is very easy to get lost in detail and lose the sense of the whole... Also working on a toned canvas as Bruin said is useful...I usually like some sort of warm mixture..raw umber/burnt sienna, etc

llis
08-02-2001, 08:06 AM
Saying hello again, Belladonna.... I'm working with this technique now...and having a ball. :)

Originally posted by belladonna
Some of the old masters painted the entire picture in just black and white (and greys), then they would glaze the local colors over top and the effects were quite stunning. I have a friend who does this all the time. You might try it for one picture and see if it helps you sort out your value problems.
I have never heard of using a black glass to look at ones values! Hmmmm sounds interesting, something that I might try sometime.
P.S. Bruin .... Who is this guy kobe?

Verdaccio
08-02-2001, 10:58 AM
I also paint my works in monochrome first - thereby establishing the form and dimension first. Our eyes see form first and color second - which is why people who are color blind can do so well in our society.

I find a 10 value scale to be of significant use to me - as I paint in a realist manner.

Matching values can be tough at first, but you do get good at it over time, so be patient with yourself.

pampe
08-02-2001, 12:06 PM
Brownie, I am too old to be a Junior also!

Listen, I have a hellova time with this concept, so thanks for triggering this discussion, which is AWESOME:clap:

The only thing that has helped me is taking my photos, printing them on my computer ONLY in black and white.....and voila....a value study.

Thanks to everyone for the posts!

Rocio
08-02-2001, 03:17 PM
This is an excellent subject with many helpful posts...Milt is right about values being relative....they key off of each other not some standard grey.....they are light or dark to the degree that they are light or dark to each other...the final lightness may be less than the real life subject but in line with the values of it's neighboring values....this will look right.

LDianeJohnson
08-02-2001, 05:13 PM
Depending on what you wish to do in painting the study of value is essential to doing any representational work, even Impressionism, to be convincing.

I used to use a photographer's gel that reduces everything down to essential values. It was a wonderful tool to learn how to recognize/emulate value and filter color. Once I grasped and began to effectively create values, then I dealt with temperature within the values. Now when I work in even a colorist's palette, I can use color based on tradition and know where I can successfully shift things and where I cannot.

And it is always a good thing (as Martha Stewart says), to work color over a value study when training, professionally painting or as review. Can never get enough of honing skills to better express visually when you want to.

Diane

Keith Russell
08-06-2001, 12:24 PM
Greetings:

Wonderful discussion, by the way.

The third book of Michael Whelen's art ( The Art of Michael Whelen) reproduced all the images in the book, smaller and in black-and-white, at the back of the book--where the technical information about each painting was given.

Earlier in the book, in an interview with artist David Cherry, Mr. Cherry commented to Mr. Whelen how good Whelen's images look in black and white. Looking at the small b/w images at the back of the book, Mr. Cherry's comments are easily verified.

Has anyone ever tried Xeroxing their paintings to check how the values are laid out? (For larger pieces, Xerox the painting in sections.)

I have Xeroxed a few of my pieces, to learn to 'see' value. I don't do a complete 'underpainting' for my paintings, but I usually work from dark to light in each area (I paint in airbrushed acrylics, and frisket off a section at a time, then move on.) I'm basically doing the 'underpainting' in sections, with the 'overpainting' section done right after, then visually relating each new area to those previously completed, to maintain balance and unity of the various values in the 'sections' of the total painting.

Value is essential, and an integral part of the composition.

I agree that it is more important than colour. Only good drawing and composition are more necessary to a successful painting, IMO.

Keith.

llis
08-06-2001, 01:34 PM
Keith:

One thing that I have found to help me is using my digital camera.

It has the capability to show me a black and white image of what ever I am looking at.

I switch my camera over to black and white and use it like a view finder.

Also, when I am painting, I check my values on my painting this way. It's a neat trick and has worked for me.

It really is amazing how reducing your painting down to just seeing values and not being influenced by COLOR works.

Bet that Xerox machine would work too.

Einion
08-08-2001, 02:02 AM
Originally posted by Johannes
...But don't worry so much about the 10 variations of values. Most professional artists only concern themselves with 4 values plus white and black.
I have been thinking about this for a few days and no offense to Johannes, but this is a gross oversimplification.

The human eye is able to distinguish approximately 256 levels of grey (hence the setting on computer monitors) and while it is very difficult to mix such tiny incremental steps deliberately, if one paints a scene realisticaly a fair selection of values will be represented as a natural consequence. To illustrate my point about eyesight take a look at the attached picture (I used software to do this as it would be daunting to attempt this with paint and this is much more accurate also). At the top is the standard 10-position value scale - white, 10% black, 20% black and so on. Everyone should be able to easily distinguish between these ten steps. Running vertically below them is a series of 10-step scales but in this case it is from a value to the one immediately adjacent to it.

With the possible exception of the steps between value 10 and 9, assuming decent monitors and good eyesight, almost everyone should be capable of seeing clear demarcation from one value to the next vertically, even though these are only 1% increments. In reality you humans could in fact be able to see as many as 24 steps between each value and its neighbour!

Einion

Einion
08-08-2001, 02:04 AM
Originally posted by Johannes
...Most professional paintings can be categorized in these values if you take a black and white photo.
Again, no offense, but this is inaccurate too as you can clearly see in the example below or in the reduced b&w pics in Whelan's book as Keith mentioned.

I chose this painting deliberately as in greyscale it may not be immediately apparent to the viewer how much tonal variation there is but I think you will all agree that the crudeness of the 6-value image on the right compared to the original clearly shows just h0w many values are actually present (this is even more evident if the picture is viewed at a larger size); note particularly the robe and the flooring. Now imagine this done with a painting with a broad range of value and you get some idea of how limiting only 6 values would be.

I would have done this in one post with the above but I don't know any way to add two pictures.

Einion

P.S. The painting for anyone who likes it is The Diet by Jehan George Vibert.

Mario
08-08-2001, 03:08 PM
Einion interesting stuff....is that you in the tinyhead ?
I'm beginning to think that maybe THAT is THE difference between professional and NON professional work..the many many more subtle values/tones/colors per square inch of the painting...my wife and I have been taking classes from some of the best painters in the country...here, in Philadelphia..they all teach..mix a color, touch it to the canvas (ONCE) and mix another color etc....none of this lazy stuff of ...hmmmm a little here and oh yeah a little over there ....and where else can I use this beautiful mauve?....uh uh. One touch and mix again....and why??? because that's all that you have going for you when you paint. TO VARY the brushstroke, value, color, temperature. period.

Mario
08-08-2001, 04:02 PM
In all fairness to Johannes, he is saying what every good book on oil painting technique is saying. Four values should do it...Light light med light , dark dark and medium dark....probably true..... Although sometimes I wonder, when looking at a really good charcoal sketch....it looks like there are many more values hidden in there...maybe, again that is the difference between the pro and me.... but for me, I can safely say that I will search for a style of painting that dosen't have to take so many values into consideration....yes, I am a lazy painter.

Doug Nykoe
08-11-2001, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by Einion

Now imagine this done with a painting with a broad range of value and you get some idea of how limiting only 6 values would be.

The 4 values plus Black and White are refering to the structure (backbone) of the painting. Every Good Painting is built on this.

Keith Russell
08-28-2001, 05:39 PM
Greetings:

Years ago, a former instructor sent me a Xerox section from a book that was written by a student of painter/illustrator Howard Pyle.

Pyle talks extensively about value in painting, but more about how to think about value, than which four (or five, or three) to use. For instance, the eye can see detail in a shadow that--to be painted correctly--would not allow value to be seen in the painting. Also, the eye can see bright light sources that are impossible to depict, again using non-light emitting paint.

So, Pyle recommends 'compressing' the value scale in one's paintings--making the shadows lighter than they really are, so that detail can still be seen within the painted shadows. Conversely, the highlights are also painted differently than they appear, so that the paint can better similuate what is really happening.

I have found these suggestions, and this way of thinking, to be far more interesting--though far more difficult, than breaking the image into four, or five, value groups.

Keith.

bruin70
10-17-2001, 11:29 PM
einion,,,,you are taking the perception of values too literally.

in order for a piece of art to work, it's best to break it down into as few values as possible. the whole point in art,,,realistic art, is to clarify. and clarification inevitably means simplification. you break down a form into two or three values in order to see its mass, then modify to your liking to round everything out.

it is when an artist tries to interpret ALL the values he sees that his painting begins to lose form. when sargent painted, he used two or three values....as did other great artists. you are looking too keenly into the subtle gradations from one value to the next,,,,and not seeing the bigger picture.

if everyone could break down form into your 6 value example(4 would be better) , they would be ahead of the game. BUT they don't. they try to see ALL the values, which then becomes one big grey mass.

it is also very impractical. why look at a model and try to identify 24 values? a laborious task at the least. identify the three values that block the form and create solidity. simplify, simplify, simplify.....{M}

Keith Russell
10-18-2001, 01:23 PM
Milt said:
"...identify the three values that block the form and create solidity. simplify, simplify, simplify.....{M}"

I think whether one can work this way or not does depend somewhat on one's choice of media. If one is working in a medium that easily allows this process, such as oils, this method probably works very well.

But, airbrushed acrylics don't lend themselves to working this way, and I doubt computer artists can easily work this way, either.

Keith

bruin70
11-20-2001, 04:19 AM
Originally posted by Keith Russell
Milt said:
"...identify the three values that block the form and create solidity. simplify, simplify, simplify.....{M}"

I think whether one can work this way or not does depend somewhat on one's choice of media. If one is working in a medium that easily allows this process, such as oils, this method probably works very well.

But, airbrushed acrylics don't lend themselves to working this way, and I doubt computer artists can easily work this way, either.

Keith

the PROCESS of painting the values is not what's important here. it is the IDENTIFICATION of the values. thus,,,,,simplify, simplify, simplify.

trying to INDENTIFY 24( or whatever) values is everyone's mistake. indentify the three or four. and build on that if necessary. so,,,no matter what the media is, the keen perception of the structure values is the same....{M}

Verdaccio
11-20-2001, 11:21 AM
I don't really think it is about how "many" values you use, but "how" you are able to use them - as they apply to your painting style.

I underpaint with 10 values and do a complete value rendered underpainting in either grisaille or verdaccio. I find that on most paintings, I will use a lot more of values 2, 4, 7, and 9 than any other values. It is not that the other values aren't in there, they are, but in many passages, the blending process creates the interim values for you, so I don't always put them down. As Milt said, I am simplifying.

Also, per above, your particular painting style makes a big difference on the values you use and how you use them. A photo-realist needs as many values as their eye and patience can handle, a portraitist needs as many values as necessary to nail a likeness, a landscape artist needs as many values as necessary to achieve proper atmospheric perspective and depth of field, etc.

So again, it's not about quantity, it's about quality of perception and interpretation/translation to the surface.

Keith Russell
11-26-2001, 03:40 PM
Michael:

Can't say I agree with your quote...

"...NEVER amount to ANYthing..."

Really!

Keith.

llis
12-01-2001, 07:01 AM
Originally posted by Brownie
I even sometimes wonder if my eyes "see" the colors differently than anyone else ...
Am I the only one? Brownie/FL
Originally posted by seakingBrownie,,
Have you ever noticed that some older women wear roughe and lipstick heavily applied usually in red rather than pink tones? as well as very dark eyeshadow? You may note too that these particular ladies who do this are also wearing very brightly colored clothing?
The reason I bring this up is that I, being at one time an ophthalmic technician/photographer learned that there is a degeneration of the retina in the eye that occurs as we age. In degrees varying from barely noticable to extreme degeneration. It is called macular degeneration. Interstingly the first color range to fade is red. It can derade to the point of seeing red as gray. My theroy on painters of old with certain "techniques" such as elongated faces and fingers as noticed in religious works is: possibly the original master of this type of painting was an astigmatic. Meaning his cornea or lens either one, misshapens the actual image he is seeing. Then a student continued on with this technique as coming from "The Master". At anyrate...how we see things is definately connected to any pathology we may have going on in our eyes and brain. Any comments?

I have a friend that is experiencing this now. It's a shame that our eyes trick us in our old age when we have so much knowledge to give. My friend once painted the most wonderful green leaves, but now the leaves he paints look blue and he sees no difference. :(