Thursday 19 June 2014

The Pensive Palette: The Value of Art

The most important component of creating anything visual is value and value relationships.  Value is the how light or dark something appears and is based on a grey scale with black and white at the ends of the scale.  Although we describe them as colors, black, white, and the neutral greys in between are not technically colors, but values of light and dark.  Every color, however, has a value that is used to describe its lightness or darkness.  This is particularly helpful when trying to see the relative differences in values between multiple colors.

When designing a image, it is paramount to think in times of value before color.  Experience allows an artist to see value and color at the same time, but it is still helpful to work in black and white (and grey) in the early stages of design.  Color rarely saves a bad value design and usually only furthers the issue.  In fact, when an artist begins with a strong eye for value , almost any color scheme can be used as long as the colors chosen match the values in the design.

In my painting, “Magnificat”, you can see how I’ve used many colors to enhance the visual interest of the lion, but in black and white the values of those colors are similar enough to not distract from the overall design. 

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