Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Value Relationships

Bike Girl 
7x10 inches 
Matted 11x14 inches 
This is an exploration of value relationships. Below you can see the test dabs I used to compare the mid-tones to my dark masses. 

In my three step method the first step is to mass the dark areas. That is somewhat easy. It is finding the mid-tones that is the tricky part. It is also important as a watercolor artist to combine several midtones to cover those mid-tone areas. If I only used one color the value would be correct but it would look like a "paint by number" painting. Remember those? 

This painting can be found HERE


  1. Bike Girl - Establishing values in watercolor perplexes many artists. Especially as watercolor tends to dry lighter than applied when wet. And yes - mid-tones are the tricky part. Mid-tones remind me musically of the opening tones of Dizzy Gillespies's "Night in Tunisia" where the brass opens with what is called a 'slide.' In other words ... the values just like musical notes ... are trial and error until it feels and looks right. That is the wonder of watercolor. Of course on the technical side ... it is a study in complementaries.

    1. I like the music metaphor. I see the color wheel as similar to keyboard on the piano. The triads are chords and when I see something discordant or "off key" I know it right away.
      I need to investigate the use of complementary colors more. Especially blue and orange and red and green. I love the discovery process.