It’s often said that color gets the glory, but value does the work. Yep, but how do we make it work for us?  How do we get value to create the mood we want?  How do we have it direct us to our area of interest or focal point and create a dynamic, rather than static picture?

First off, we want to have a variety of sizes of shapes of different values. Otherwise our piece will be pretty boring and static. We want to vary the proportional amount of area occupied by each value. Think baby bearmama bear,papa bear or a little bitsome and most. Whatever words works for you. The idea is to create a variety of sizes of shapes in each value.

Once you start seeing your piece as a pattern of value shapes, you can check to make sure it’s conveying the message or mood that you intended. Here are six basic value patterns, each with a completely different feel!

The smallest shape naturally becomes the focal point or area of interest.  This is when it is juxtaposed with a larger area with which it has contrast. Think of a Rembrandt painting.

Also, check out the in this piece by Monet.The focal point is really the small figure, but is placed near the trees which provide the most contrast in the scene.

I hope this mini-lesson gave you some ideas on how to strengthen your compositions with strong value patterns and also how to critique pieces by checking to make sure you’ve created a strong value pattern! Next week; I’ll show you some examples of how I simplified my reference to get my idea across!

With Warmest Regards,


Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

My free online minilessons in art are a fantastic way to learn more about your craft, regardless of your skill level. There are lessons available on everything from basic drawing techniques to complex painting methods, and no matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you. Whether you’re a beginner who’s just starting out, or a seasoned artist who wants to brush up on your skills, these minilessons are a great resource. These lessons are available anytime, anywhere. So whether you’re looking for a quick refresher or want to explore something new, be sure to check out some of my minilessons at Painting Lessons with Marla.

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