How to make a Value Scale

Problems with chiaroscuro?  And don’t we all.   However I recognize that it is that dark to light range that makes for strength in a painting .

It can be easier if you mix your values first before starting to paint and to reference with a value scale of a minimum of 5 values but preferable about 9 that you can keep for reference.

Value Scale

Mix in the order indicated by the numbers  below.

1(Black)     6 (1+4)       4 (Black + mid grey)         7(3+4)       3(mid grey)      8 (3+5)     5 (White + mid grey)       9  (2 + 5)        2  ( White)

Start with Black and white at either end.

Mix half and half for the mid value

Mix black and then white with that mid value for the ones in between.

Then use the values on either side of the spaces left to fill in the holes. Clear as mud eh?

If you do this on canvas strips and then glue them (abutting each other)  to another long piece of canvas you can keep it forever.  See photo.

value-scale - Lynda Lynn Muskoka Artist

Another fun exercise is to mix and paint about 50 or so patches of greys on wc paper. Cut pieces of each colour so that they are all the same size and then arrange them in order of value. Eliminate the ones that are too close together until you have about 20.  Now you should have a value scale with a balance of lights and darks with mid grey in the centre. The exercise will also indicate if you are leaning too much in one direction or the other.  Glue the pieces in order onto another card that you can keep for reference. It is a great one to do with a colour as well.

I love colour mixing and find it so interesting just seeing what happens.
Hope this helps and have fun.

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