Saturday, October 30, 2010

Value Plans--Midtones

A problem I've seen with student value plans is that the midtones are not dark enough.  The midtones are important because it is the glue that holds the darks and lights together.  If the midtone isn't dark enough, the jump to the darks will be too startling. 

Making a value plan is crucial.  It will show the weaknesses in composition that color cannot possibly compensate for.  It is also the indicator of aerial perspective.  And most important, it will tell you how to proceed. 

For instance, in the second value sketch above, if you want the light tree on the left to be yellow, you must plan to paint it before you place the mountain silhouette down.  In watercolor, you can't place a yellow on top of a midtone and have it read as a light.  On the other hand, you can paint right through the darks on the barn because you know it will be darker than the mountain or the trees behind it.

And remember, the whites in a value sketch don't have to be pure white in the final painting.  They can be slightly tinted with an appropriate color and then painted over.

If your paintings don't look organized, try a value sketch or two.

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