Need Assistance with Values

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  1. #1
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    Need Assistance with Values

    Well, I've been back in the art world for all of 2 days (ha!)

    And while I haven't lost my ability to draw, nor my ability to see the proper shapes..I'm seeing that my ability to properly denote values has diminished greatly.

    I'm noticing when I'm blocking in simple landscapes I am having a hell of a time finding the correct values. For instance, I am working with only grey-scale currently(this is the correct way, right?) so that I may properly relearn how lights and shadows affect a piece. And I find myself not picking the proper {shades of grey} for the different pieces of the environment.

    Forgive my attempt at an explanation, my vocabulary isn't quite up to par, I understand.

    Now I am not looking for the "get good fast" book on value..but what references can I pull from (on the internet hopefully) to help myself better understand the differences and the application of these values? I want to build a solid foundation before moving back into the world of color!

    My main example is that I'll block in an entire piece, then I'll turn the image I was using as reference into a grey-scale and notice that the balance(harmony) between my values are significantly altered and do not in fact harmonize.

    So, do I just muscle through this hiccup? Or is there something specific I should be focusing on?

    Thank You

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  3. #2
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    Probably need an example before people can give specifics. Or your just going to get the standard "practice more" response.

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    i thought drawing was like riding a bicycle you never forget how to do it..i guess i'm rong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nodaedalus View Post
    I'm noticing when I'm blocking in simple landscapes I am having a hell of a time finding the correct values. For instance, I am working with only grey-scale currently(this is the correct way, right?) so that I may properly relearn how lights and shadows affect a piece. And I find myself not picking the proper {shades of grey} for the different pieces of the environment.
    Nope. The only real way to get a handle on value in the landscape is to get outside and paint it. Use a limited palette like cool and warm primaries plus white.

    Value is indeed critical, most problems are with value...but the only way to learn is to go paint it. It can be instructive to grayscale your image but there is no sense in wasting time, energy, paint and board painting landscapes in gray.

    Edit: If you just want to focus on value a good method is to carry a small watercolor kit and do quick little ink wash type sketches...but even small, don't rush tehm...teh whole key is to slow down, compare, observe. Squinting is a really valuable method in helping to simplify and compare value.

    Last edited by JeffX99; June 4th, 2012 at 04:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    i thought drawing was like riding a bicycle you never forget how to do it..i guess i'm rong.
    Heh I said above, I've not lost the ability to draw..my lines are not nearly as nice as they were in my prime..but the main abilities are still present, for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Nope. The only real way to get a handle on value in the landscape is to get outside and paint it. Use a limited palette like cool and warm primaries plus white.

    Value is indeed critical, most problems are with value...but the only way to learn is to go paint it. It can be instructive to grayscale your image but there is no sense in wasting time, energy, paint and board painting landscapes in gray.

    Edit: If you just want to focus on value a good method is to carry a small watercolor kit and do quick little ink wash type sketches...but even small, don't rush tehm...teh whole key is to slow down, compare, observe. Squinting is a really valuable method in helping to simplify and compare value.
    Thank you very much for your reply Jeff, this is exactly what I was looking for.

    I'll keep at the grey-scales a little longer I figure..I'm in no rush and it is by no means boring..or I wouldn't be here trying such tedious tasks.

    But I'll just keep at it as you've suggested and go from there, thanks again.

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    Sure thing...one of the best books out there for becoming aware of value in the landscape is "Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting"...he literally sort of "wrote the book" that most landscape painting books have followed for 60 years. It has been in print since the 1940s so is easy and inexpensive to find.

    Last edited by JeffX99; June 4th, 2012 at 07:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Sure thing...one of th ebest books out there for becoming aware of value in the landscape is "Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting"...he literally sort of "wrote the book" that most landscape painting books have followed for 60 years. It has been in print since the 1940s so is easy and inexpensive to find.
    Thank you for the suggestion!

    The only volume I own on values(or color theory for that matter) is "Alla Prima" by Richard Schmid..and while some rave about it and I've taken [some] things from it..it's a bit overwhelming.

    So, maybe I'll have better luck with your suggestion, thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nodaedalus View Post
    I'm noticing when I'm blocking in simple landscapes I am having a hell of a time finding the correct values.
    There is no such thing as a simple landscape.

    If you want to practice values, then practice values in a simple setup with a few simple white objects in a shadow box, one light. Find the highest highlight, the darkest shadow, the lightest shadow, keep in mind that your darkest highlight will be lighter than your lightest shadow. Forget about details, pick samples at the centre of each main shape, and sample where the main shapes connect. Compare these with each other: is it really as light here as is it there? Get it right: just the sampling could take you hours for a simple object...

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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    There is no such thing as a simple landscape.

    If you want to practice values, then practice values in a simple setup with a few simple white objects in a shadow box, one light. Find the highest highlight, the darkest shadow, the lightest shadow, keep in mind that your darkest highlight will be lighter than your lightest shadow. Forget about details, pick samples at the centre of each main shape, and sample where the main shapes connect. Compare these with each other: is it really as light here as is it there? Get it right: just the sampling could take you hours for a simple object...
    This is great advice, thank you. I hadn't really thought about going back to "that " basic of value practice..however seeing as how it's been 2 years since I've picked up any form of medium..I'm sure this is my best bet.

    Prior to your post however, I did a series of 'block-in' quicks..just to show my inabilities...

    I know the form, scale and other variables are quite off..as I did this quickly they weren't really my intention, more so an attempt at values..hence the thread.


    Reference:

    Need Assistance with Values

    Need Assistance with Values

    Need Assistance with Values

    Need Assistance with Values

    I apologize for the size..every time I re-sized the image wouldn't save for some reason..damn technology.

    //
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    Well, when I paint outside, I do a lot of landscapes strictly as value practices where I use one color and then create the correct values.

    The tough part is that you are using photos. The values are going to be wrong. Take, for instance, your shadow area of the wall in the photo. It's very flat. In reality, the shadow area of the wall closest to you will be the darkest and it will be less dark as it moves away from you. However, from the photo, you don't get any variation of the values in the shadow.

    The best way is, for landscapes, is to go outside and do something simple. Pick something in the distance (mountain, etc), something in the middle-plane and something close to you. By comparing them, you'll see how much the atmosphere affects them (This is particularly true on cloudy/rainy days).

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    Alla Prima is a must have for sure...one of the best books on painting ever...but it definitely makes more sense after a few years of painting from life.

    You'll find the Carlson book not the easiest read as well...not because it is "advanced" but because it was written in the Forties, and by a guy whose vernacular is even much earlier. But trying to figure it out is helpful because it makes you really think about what he's saying as you try to unravel his words.

    So, I would like to add that you just won't learn much about value, especially in the landscape, without direct observation and effort. Photos don't even come close...nor do digital tools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Hoppes View Post
    Well, when I paint outside, I do a lot of landscapes strictly as value practices where I use one color and then create the correct values.

    The tough part is that you are using photos. The values are going to be wrong. Take, for instance, your shadow area of the wall in the photo. It's very flat. In reality, the shadow area of the wall closest to you will be the darkest and it will be less dark as it moves away from you. However, from the photo, you don't get any variation of the values in the shadow.

    The best way is, for landscapes, is to go outside and do something simple. Pick something in the distance (mountain, etc), something in the middle-plane and something close to you. By comparing them, you'll see how much the atmosphere affects them (This is particularly true on cloudy/rainy days).
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Alla Prima is a must have for sure...one of the best books on painting ever...but it definitely makes more sense after a few years of painting from life.

    You'll find the Carlson book not the easiest read as well...not because it is "advanced" but because it was written in the Forties, and by a guy whose vernacular is even much earlier. But trying to figure it out is helpful because it makes you really think about what he's saying as you try to unravel his words.

    So, I would like to add that you just won't learn much about value, especially in the landscape, without direct observation and effort. Photos don't even come close...nor do digital tools.
    Thank you both for the time you've taken to help me.

    Jeff, you had mentioned carrying around some water-colors..what methods would you suggest when translating a piece of scenery? Would I first layout a sketch with pencil and then go over it with water colors?

    Also, would you mind recommending a kit, as you've described?

    I've been quite narrow-minded in the medium I've used artistically throughout the years, nearly completely limiting myself to pens, pencils, charcoal. I have very little experience with brushes.

    Thank you again.

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  20. #14
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    Sure - you can keep it incredibly simple - the simpler the better. A small WC sketchbook - like 5x7-ish...some water...a decent Sable or sable blend brush...a small pan of watercolors...or optionally a seven day pill container (for old people like me) you can set up a range of values in just with india ink. Yeah you can lightly sketch your composition if you want - but just to delineate major masses. That's it...maybe a little pack of tissues.

    This would be a good starter: Cotman Sketch Kit...or make up your own.

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  22. #15
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    A good thing to practice outdoors is painting the shadows and leaving the lights blank. This is called creating a shadow plan. This exercise does two things, it forces you to think of design and it makes you more careful about your shapes and edges. Don't spend more than an hour on one (twenty minutes is best)as the shadows outside are always moving. Start with just one value. Here is an example of a house on a hillside from one of mine (this has more than one value but it is the same idea)

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    If you're just practising values with gray, I would recommend pencils or my favourite Graphitone ($2). Or if you're getting a watercolour set, also get a half pan/tube of Payne's gray for practicing.

    After grays, you can then go into colour.

    I'm also still practising.

    Here's a sketch I drew with I think 3-4 values.

    Need Assistance with Values
    Purvis Street in the foreground (with grain) by Parka81, on Flickr

    Last edited by Parka81; June 16th, 2012 at 08:33 AM.
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