Appreciating Value

Value, where the color is on the range of light to dark, can be balanced too. Darks and lights can carry weight in a picture — darks more than lights. If all the dark area is on one side of the picture, it may feel heavy on that side. The value of the dark sky balances the value of the dark tree in the foreground in the painting in Figure 6-6.

Notice that nothing is really going on in the sky area, but by adding the darker value, it directs the eye back into the light area of the painting. Value is independent of color. The value can be dark blue or dark green. The eye will see value before it sees color.

Figure 6-6:

Dark colors on opposite sides of the painting keep the scene balanced.

Figure 6-6:

Dark colors on opposite sides of the painting keep the scene balanced.

Change the values often. It's too easy to stick to middle values (gray or what falls between light and dark). Lights and darks make the painting sing. The lightest light touching the darkest dark within the painting will be the center of interest. It's an extreme value change (or contrast, which is discussed later in this chapter). An entertaining painting displays the entire toolbox of values and uses a value pattern to lead the eye around the painting. And finally, the values need to be balanced. It's a recipe of a pinch of this and pound of that and a little of the middle. You can find out more about value in Chapter 5.

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