Making Value Studies
In a recent workshop, one of the students asked me what would be most beneficial for her to go home with and practice. I told her that she should do value studies. So, I thought I would post here what I have done in the past and still continue to do.
I have a sketch book that has several pages of values studies using 4 values, including black and white. I use small bottle of craft paint costing about $1 each from the local craft store. It is easy to pick two grays evenly spaced between the white and black. Also buy a bottle of black. You can forego the white and use the white of the paper as your white or you may want the bottle of white to rework the composition as I do.
I've posted several of the sketches that I've done in my book. These were all done using my photos and sitting down at the dining room table. When I'm painting on location, I will sometimes paint a value study (I should really do it every time. That's a much better habit to get into.) You can work out your design in values before you get into color. In the case of doing it on location, I will make a small pencil or marker sketch or mix a little bit of oils up.
You can see by these sketches that some ideas have been abandoned, others changed and some more successful than others. The more successful ones where painted into larger color versions.
The values are the backbones of your paintings. The value study will be the "pattern" or "blueprints" of your painting.
Use some of your photos or go through art magazines and make value studies of paintings that you believe have a good composition. Most likely you will see strong values patterns that hold together.
Start painting, have fun and learn!