One of the aspects that make my paintings unique is the intense attention paid to values.
What are values? – the range of light and dark in your painting, also called “tone.” We usually focus on the Hue (color) but the value can be even more important. Here are two versions of Sea Turtle by Nancy Sklaney at Paintmyphoto http://paintmyphoto.ning.com/photo/sea-turtle-1
Here is the original and another with the values reduced. The second one seems dull and not lifelike.
How do you discover what the values are?
Use a gray scale to map out your picture. A gray scale is a chart from white to black in varying number of steps of gray in between without any apparent color. I punch holes in mine so I can lay it on top of the black and white photo to identify the values.
Here’s an example of the gray scale on top of my picture and there is a match at 4 and 10
A good exercise is to map out the values on your black and white copy.
Here’s a few values mapped on the turtle photo.
In the next post, I’ll talk about how to figure out what value your colors (hues) are and how to use them.
In the meantime, here’s a very nice article about values and hues at About.com