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Painting Art Ezine #003, The Biggest Mistake Artist Make
February 15, 2022

, Welcome to the Ezine!

The Biggest Mistake Artists Make is Ignoring the Importance of Values

Paintings don't work without a good contrast in values.

Values are the light and dark tones in your paintings.

Learning to See

Seeing is the most important tool of the painting artist.

When we squint our eyes to look at a potential painting subject, the colors fade out. Then we see the lights and darks and all the grey shades in-between.

We ladies can lower our eyelids instead of squinting. You can guess why, we don't want crow's feet.

Practice seeing the contrast of lights and darks of the subject before you start a painting.

Squint your eyes and practice seeing the values.

What Colors are Light and Dark?

Yellow is the lightest value on the color wheel. Violet or purple is the darkest value.

All the other colors fall somewhere in-between.

Colors can be darkened in value by adding their complimentary color. Or if you use black on your palette, add some black to make the color a shade darker.

We can lighten the values of oil colors by adding white. But adding white to a color gives it a chalky appearance.

It’s best to lighten a color by adding the lighter color next to it on the color wheel.

Watercolors are lightened by adding more water to the color, so the white paper can show through.

Using Values in Our Paintings

Ignoring values is the biggest mistake artists make.

We can separate the different items in our paintings by changing the colors. Also, by changing the values. Light against dark, dark against light and so-on is what makes our paintings readable.

If everything in a painting is similar in values, it makes a boring painting. A good contrast in values makes strong, attractive paintings.

The focal area of a painting is the place to use the strongest contrast of values.

Things away from the center of interest are painted with less contrast.

If you are painting things in the distance in a landscape painting, use less value contrast. That makes them look farther away.

When we look into the distance, particles in the air reflect the light. So we see less difference in the values. The darks will be painted lighter and the lights are painted darker to convey the appearance of distance.

The particles in the air, also filter out the warm colors, so things look bluer.

Get more information on using values in your paintings.

Art by Carol May - Values in Painting

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Next month in addition to the main article, you'll get the answer the most popular visitor's question.

Art by Carol May - Visitors Questions

Next month, “This Painting Tip is Almost Too Easy”

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