Thursday, March 06, 2008

Value Studies for Michael

Post disclaimer: Non-art people will be bored. Most art people will be bored. This is for Michael, who may also be bored with it, but ... oh well.

Further disclaimer: I'm LEARNING, not a teacher. This post is the result of a conversation that just needed pictures. :-)

This is a prime example of why you look at the colored pencil POINT rather than the color painted on the barrel of the pencil to see what color it is. You shouldn't completely trust those sly colored pencil manufacturers!

(This is Prismacolor Scarlet Lake - 923)

All of the following examples are done with prismacolors.

What I did -- took my jumble of colored pencils and semi-randomly made some nice colored squares on a small piece of Stonehenge paper.

I scanned them in color, then switched the scanner to grey scale and rescanned to see the actual color values.

The top two rows -- Pink (929), Orange ( ), and Rosy Beige (1019)
then Pale Vermillion (921), Canary yellow (916), and Apple Green (912)

It's easy to look at the colors and see how the Pink and Pale Vermillion and Orange are near values, but when you look at the grey scale you can also see how the Orange and the Apple Green are nearly the same value even though they are very different colors. So we can figure out that if an entire drawing is done in colors of all similar value, it is going to feel kind of washed out, even though the colors themselves are really nice.

These are the bottom two rows. I was a bit surprised at how light the blue in the upper middle showed up; I would have thought it was a darker value than it appears here on the grey scale.
The colors are: An Olive Green That I Just Dropped Which Then Rolled Under The Desk So It Is Now Irretrievable, Electric Blue (1040), and Scarlet Lake (923)
The bottom row: Violet (932), Imperial Violet (1007), and Dahlia Purple (1009)

This really shows how, even though the red is BRIGHT, it is a dark-ish value. It can brighten up a dark passage without changing the value a whole lot, but if you're going for RED IMPACT, it might get lost in near values. And, comparing the temperature of the colors on the bottom row, you can see how there can be a neutral purple, cool purple, and warm purple.

Sigh. At least that's how I figure it is. Books, books, books, study, study, study, and practice, practice, practice. That's the trick.

And for those of you who always want to know what music I'm listening to, I've got Jeff Buckley's "Grace" album playing now -- I'd forgotten all about how wonderful he was until I caught that cute kid with dreadlocks on American Idol singing the Buckley version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Yep, I decided to watch a little American Idol this season to finally see what all the fuss is about. Not near as good as the Rock Star shows have been, but getting reminded of this beautiful album was well worth the time. So iTunes scored a sale off of me because of the show -- they should be happy! :-)
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Leslie said...

Linda, I found this post very enlightening and interesting. Thank you for taking the time to do these swatches, scan and do grey-scales, and post them with your comments. I think it's very helpful, and eye-opening about the values of some colors!

Anonymous said...

Linda...thank you for this..I wouldn't've thought to do this to figure values, but this is GREAT!! This is going on my "art housekeeping" list of things to do when I don't really feel like drawing/painting anything...;)

Lin said...

Such a challenging subject, Linda -- but you pointed out some really good points -- thanks!!

artsyfran said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm taking a watercolor pencil class and I'm definitely going to try this to figure out my values.

Brian said...

One way to see the value is to squint at all the little squares. That way, you see less of the colour and more of the value.

Very good exercise to scan them and then switch off the colour. The results can indeed be surprising!

annie said...

This was very helpful Linda. I have always had trouble with values, even when I was quilting and choosing fabric (I used the old "squint one eye" trick that someone mentioned!)

littlemithi said...

We did something similar on my art foundation course a while ago ... I was going round with my digital camera set on black and white to see which colours were the same values - really surprising sometimes!

Anetka said...

Linda...thank you for this post. Now it makes it even more difficult for me since I am aware of color values...:)) I never thought about painting this way...
but seriously very interesting and eye-opening.
Once again - thank you:)

Kathleen Marie said...

I have created several little books like this, comparing brands and colors. I always think I've created the perfect little one to stash in my pocketbook in order to keep me in line when I stand drooling over the Prisma display.

It was intended to keep me in a state of self-control when gazing at all those hues. Inevitably, I still purchase extras, duplicates, and I always get suckered into new brands and colors.

I think I have found making the little color charts more fun than the actual drawings sometimes. Ha ha!

Helen's Art Studio said...

Found your blog while looking at Diahn's latest entry.... What a good idea for seeing color/value. So glad I found my way over here.

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