VALUES IN PAINTING by Jill Saur
Lightness or tonal value is the light or dark of a color, regardless of its hue. Creating a black and white painting is very helpful to train your eye to perceive value.
Sometimes it’s easier to classify values into three groups: lights, darks, and mid-range. Roughly, values from one through three are the lightest values. Values from four through seven are the mid values, and values from eight through ten are the darkest values. A general guide is that mid-tones should occupy 70% of your painting, the lightest lights 20%, and the darkest darks should occupy 10% of your work.
If I'm going to paint from a photo that I take, the first thing I do is put it in a photo program and I turn it into a black and white image. When I do this, I know immediately if the image has a good range to make the composition interesting as well as intriguing.
A number of my students have been working on value drawings and paintings. I hope this tip helps you see the importance of training your eye to see and use value changes in your artwork.