Value Scale

by Janet Bonneau in Oil Painting Classes
Last week my students and I painted a grayscale and it was a lesson for me in how difficult it can be to create the subtle transitions from white to black. I had not done this exercise in quite a while and found it quite challenging!
We all found that the middle values were the most difficult to paint. There wasn’t enough ‘value’ range left to paint the middle. One approach I tried on my second attempt was to paint the white, then the black, then IMMEDIATELY paint the middle value. 
My value scale is suffering from mid-value crisis. 
I plan to punch holes down the right side near each value change and use it as a value checker when I’m out painting. The one I’ve been using is divided up both horizontally and vertically – rather then one column going down vertically. I like having one column of values. 
I decided to re-test the values on one of my older still lifes. I converted the image to black and white. Initially I thought the values were pretty decent in the original… 
But when I remove the color … I see how I might have done it differently.
I told my students to hang on to their earlier work to use as a good reference point later on to see how far they’ve progressed – and this is a good example of that. Were I to go back into this painting, I might have created a more dramatic image by darkening some of the shadow areas, especially directly underneath the pear shadows, and adding one or two highlights in the upper ranges – BUT I’ll know it for the next painting and I’ve learned a lot from this older work.
This week  – we may be painting a color wheel.
Happy painting!