Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to paint values accurately

The path most taken - plein air

Oil on Panel 10" x 8"
Click on image for detail

This is the field study I did after the initial value study (below) - check back soon to see the final studio piece!

Trying to gauge the correct values for a painting is one of the most frustrating challenges for new painters.  The other day I did a quick value demo to illustrate the basics.  Even though I generally complete this step in my head, I found it was a healthy practice for me too! 

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 To the right, I use a simple four step value scale to understand the way the general shapes of the painting will lay out and work together.  The principle is that no matter what colors, style, etc. you use the painting will 'work' better if the underlying value structure is more accurate. For larger and more complex works I'll sometimes use the ten step scale - but I find this simple approach most helpful out in the field.  Soon this becomes second nature, and makes it much easier to select a workable painting location.


  1. How interesting to see your process a little, Jane. Thanks for sharing your lovely work.

  2. Your paintings look great! It really helped my daughter with her project.