Following the change of clocks, I become hyper aware of light and dark and find myself trying to squeeze everything into the limited day light hours, rather than pacing things out through the dark of the evenings.
It 'dawned' on me that this is actually quite similar to painting. I'm often reminding students to explore the full value range of a colour, not just the lights and mid-tones but to be brave and put that dark value mark down!
Just like a cycle of 24 hours, where we go through a range of light that graduates between dawn, daylight, dusk and night-time, in painting we constantly seek a full spectrum of light and dark with everything in between to create a painting with depth. We can't just live in the day, we also need the night of the colour to produce an interesting painting - This is called using Value Scales.
I LOVE that this is called 'Values' because it not only sums up technical value, but the emotional ones both in and of paintings. A painting can commemorate or celebrate a loved one, provide comfort or joy, brighten up a mood or home, contemplate the world, open dialogue about an issue right through to the act of painting - a meditative process, taking time out, improving skills, expressing creativity, slowing down - I could go on!
The painting above encapsulates this mix of technical and emotional value. Created using a range of greys, it was commissioned as a tribute and celebration of a much loved father to provide comfort to his wife following his passing.
Memorial portraits like this one are such an honour to work on, but I'm always a little nervous when I hand them over because they're loaded with emotion, intimacy, grief and love and therefore it's essential I get them right.
Oil portraits focusing on value scale are perfect for clear black and white, busy images we want to simplify, or when then the lighting alters skin tone. Value Paintings can be a way of capturing an image where the detail isn't as good as required for full colour and is a perfect way of re-framing a memory or moment in time into a painting you'll have for life.
If you're thinking of commissioning an oil or value portrait for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, contact me and tell me about who you'd like painted and what it means to you. You can also sign up to my Studio Notes where you're privy to 10% off your mini portrait
Or if you'd like to give a value painting/drawing a go yourself, I've put together a FREE guide focusing on the Power or Values.
This FREE Guide includes:
- A breakdown on what values are
- What makes values important
- How understanding values improves drawings.
- How to create a Value Scale
- Understanding pencil grades
- An exercise training your eye to pinpoint values
To receive your guide just click below: