Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Value Studies

A value study is a great way to prepare for a new painting, and helps ensure that you will get the result you want when you paint your final painting. A value study is a sketch using only one color. Usually it will be smaller than the final painting, and done far more quickly. The advantage of a value study is that you take the focus off of the colors, and put it on placement and values.

I read about value studies many times before I tried it myself. I did one for the first time while at a workshop with Joe Miller. Now I consider it an important step in my artistic process.

I almost always do a value study of some kind for every larger painting, even if it's only with a regular pencil and shading. They're not always pretty, and are usually done very quickly. Pencil value studies, I spend maybe 2-5 minutes. If I paint it, maybe 15-20 minutes.

*Tip- If you do value studies with paint, don't choose a light color on your palette! You won't be able to create values that are very dark with a light color! My favorite choices for value studies in watercolor are ultramarine, burnt umber, sap green, and quinacradone gold.

The pics I have here are some of my favorites I've done. (And least sloppy!) I hope you enjoy them, and find them useful to get you started practicing your own value studies! :)

As always, happy painting! Leave your comments or questions below... don't be shy! I want to hear from you!

If you like, please also visit my website at www.lauraposs.com.

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  1. Thank you Alita! I'm glad you enjoyed it; please come again :)

  2. Well, I heard about value studies but never did one myself, now I know how to do it I have no excuse but try it, thank you for sharing this information. I'm new to art, started learning to draw only a few months ago, mainly drawing with pencil but would love to get brave soon to try out watercolors properly (I did try few times but I was so awful at it I gave up trying quickly). Thanks for the info, it's so useful to find this kind of information from someone who knows what they're doing :)

  3. Mrs H,
    I'm thrilled to learn that my blog post has been helpful to you. That's what I most hope to achieve with this blog, and hearing that it has been useful to others makes it so worthwhile. Thank you for taking the time to let me know! Good luck and happy creating!

    PS- I'm happy to hear suggestions of topics you would like me to cover in future blog posts!


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