After viewing and savoring my Peggi Kroll-Roberts DVDs, I’m doing the exercises she teaches in them, starting with value studies. To keep it simple and focus on values I used colored blocks for my subject. Above is the last study of the day in which I tried to apply to color what I’d learned by doing the gray-scale value studies below.
One of the huge new (to me) things I learned from the Simple Value Plan DVD is that when you make a value plan for a painting, you can choose a range of values for the painting, such as making it high-key (mostly light) or low-key (predominantly dark), rather than copying the values as you see them. Kroll-Roberts compares this to playing music in different keys.
She recommends making a value plan before starting a painting by simplifying and grouping shapes in the image into two or three values, with 1/3 light and 2/3 dark or vice versa for a more interesting design. In the study above on the right I used only mid to dark grays, for a low-key, predominantly dark study.
Another tool she demonstrates is to first mix a value scale and put it at the bottom of your value plan study as I did above on the bottom right, and select your values from that scale. You can see the 3 blobs of paint at the bottom of most of these studies that indicate the values I intended to use.
Above I wanted the study to use the full value scale, black, white and mid-gray. I noted the colors of the blocks and how I was interpreting their values (yellow and white blocks and beige table top = white/gray; red, green and blue = gray/black, depending on if they were in light or shadow). I did some more adjusting of value once I had it blocked in so there are more than 3 values.
On Peggi’s DVD High Key Value, she demonstrates creating a high key (mostly light values) painting by simply selecting the values that are mostly very light. I tried doing that with this study, and I think it works, but could have used an even lighter “darkest dark.”