The importance of value

Yesterday when completing first layer of a new oil painting I thought that it  might be interesting to check the color painting in grey-scale to see how the values work. I uploaded a photo of my new painting to Pixelmator and turned it to b&w version. The result that is below shows me where light and dark areas are and how they work within the composition.

My usual approach to applying color when oil painting is more intuitive rather than rational. So doing this b&w check after some painting sessions might be a useful sense check to see if the painting is going in a good direction in terms of values. As Lori McNee, a painter and professional blogger, says in her article about value “Value is independent of hue“. That also is the reason why we might not always ‘see’ in the color painting the real relationship between dark and light and the contrast they create. To learn more about values, hues and tones you can check Lori’s professional website.

You can check beautiful Lori McNee’s Fine Art Tips:

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