This is a way to make keys that open lighting situations. Make a string of values and choose a light and a dark. Then choose the value that rests between them and place those values correctly. Obey the key that you've made and don't deviate. Use this as a way to unlock the scene in front of you or create an imagined scene.
Here's how... Find the lightest light in your scene then find the darkest dark. Then find the value between the light and dark which is a grey and use these to identify values in a scene and to simplify it into a readble drawing or painting.
I did this scene 3 times to show how an artist can find the best light.
The keys are infinite.
The value string can be endless.
It also allows you to see into the shadows which is SOOOOOO IMPORTANT!
To understand this in color all you need to understand is that white is above yellow and black is below violet.
Color theory and value theory should walk side by side.
The drawings above are keys that accentuate value compliments and bring to life natural light right out of your imagination.
The drawings aren't good at all but the light compensates.
Imagine if the value strings were longer.
Imagine what your own keys would make these scenes look like.
Let me show you something.
Look at the door to the left. The value of the portion of the door in the light, which in my mind is a red door, is equal to the value of the wall in the shadow, which in my mind is a white wall.
White and red are perfectly equal.
When white is in shadow it is equal to red in the light.
Painting is dependant on value and so is drawing.
It's all relative. This is widely known.
Prove it to yourself. Find your favorite artist and look into the shadows of their work.
Compare the lights in the shadows to the midtones in full light they will be seperated by 3 values.
I plan to really begin to explore this subject more and make real attempts at exploring subjects that show this principle at work.
I have noticed that light and dark move away and move toward a grey between the two at equal intensities.
Have you ever been outside when the clouds were making the sun go in and out. As the light from the sun diminishes in intensity so does the intensity of the shadow and when light and shadow diminish and increase at equal intensities there must be fulcrum point between the two.
Balancing Values means that light and dark are balanced but by what is the question. Light and dark cannot be balanced unless they are balanced by a grey in between. The grey between is the scale that holds the two. That grey may be divided any imaginable way.
If you take a value string at any length and choose a light and a dark then the balancing value will be directly between the two and that grey can be split into two values at equal distances between light and dark and so on and so on. Until you have a new value string between the light and the dark that you initially chose.
Whats more is... Look at the center drawing. The doors are red, the walls are white. On the door to the left, part of the door is in the light but it is equal to white in the shade. Red is equal to white in this situation but our minds want to make new value. We dont want to believe that red in the light is equal to white in the shade. Those two values are the same.The point is that those balancing values are directly between a light and dark.These drawings were done in a way that juxtaposed the values so that it would appear that you can see into the shadows. It can also be helpful to use only a very small amount of values to get the greater impact. Afterward you can modulate the value, chroma, temperature, hue or whatever.
This also allows some to correctly assess a drawing situation by finding the light and the dark and the grey between them. The thing that trips us up all the time is that we misassign values. Chances are that the lightest light and the darkest dark could be just grey. But making a key and obeying it from the begining keeps us on track.
Not to mention how beneficial it is to make lighting keys that can cast our subject in the most flattering light.
I have played music for over twenty years now. I play guitar and I can play well. The reason I bring that up is to draw a parallel to the context of being able to draw and paint in different keys. I just want to show you how far reaching this idea is.
If I play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the guitar, I can move the shape of that melody around any where I want to on the guitar neck and play it in any key that I choose. I can make it higher or lower or anything I want. I can even mix it into variations if I want. How does this relate? Well, let's say I have a drawing in mind from something I see or imagine. I should be able to cast that image in any light I want. For instance, If I see a scene and I think it would look good as a rainy scene it's not practical to go out in the rain and paint and try to mix colors. It becomes absurd. But if I can create a narrow value key that pushes toward grey I can draw that scene and get a good idea of where it needs to go in terms of value. Of course that same scene in full sunlight wil have a different key describing that lighting situation. It's also not practical to paint or draw a nighttime scene but by a simple choice of value string I can restrict the drawing to the dominating tones and values to create that darkened scene.
So, the music is the same, same notes, same chords, same phrasing. I just moved it's position to accomidate mood. The same is true for tonality. Those three drawings are exactly the same but look totally different. As an artist I must be able to draw or paint in any key even if just for the purpose of setting a mood. A painter starts out with a limited pallet. A person who is doing a drawing should work with a limited value scale derived from a full value scale.
4 values derived from a 10 value scale can have a deeper impact that the full spectrum of values. If a painter begins with a limited pallet it is a reasonable assumption to begin a drawing with a limited set of values. If I use a ten value scale and choose 1 as my light and ten as my dark the the value that balances them will be directly between the two. working with 4 out of 10 values I would choose 4 and 7 to balance the values of 1 and 10. The value between 1 and 10 is split between 4 and 7. If I want to expand the drawing to make it more realistic I will have to add more values. To do that I would have to balance a new grey value with my already existing grey values to balance between my light and dark values. It can get complicated at this point so for the sake of keeping it simple let me say this...4 is a shade of 1, 7 is a shade of 4, and 10 is a shade of 7. The values of 1, 4, 7 and 10 are in harmony with one another. 4 values is enough to render anything in life or imagination. From there it can be developed further. Using values that are seperated by 3 tones is a very desciptive way of rendering any subject. I can use 1,4,7 or 4,7,10 or 2,5,8 or 3,6,9 or anything I can dream up. So far I think that those value seperations are the most harmonious.
Moving right along...If color theory exists then it must be true that value theory exists as well. I just made a bold statement, but I stand by it. If some colors look better placed next to one another then some values placed next to one another will also look better. I say all of this because the more I draw and paint the more I realize that I am leaning how to paint with a pencil and I am learning how to draw with a paintbrush. If those two ideas are converging upon one another then color theory and value theory must also be converging upon one another until drawing and painting converge into a relative cohesiveness in terms of overall tonality.
I just used alot of heavy language, but what I said makes perfect sense.
Here is my final point in this. If I could go back four years and tell myself this information would I be a better artist today and I know that the answer is yes. I still have some more research to do but this is the simplified version.
I believe that this information can help people to identify what it is that they are seeing and learn to interperet it to make a picture. Especially if streamlining their work is the name of the game and for me it is.
How many people draw or paint and you look at their work and imediately you can see if they are afraid of darks and so all of their work looks like its done in a high key or the opposite is true. This is a way of teaching how to overcome that to correctly assign values. Not only that but also it can be applied to any style of drawing or painting. It can also be used to combine multiple lighting sources. You see this in old master paintings. There are different keys of light that can compliment one another just by combining the right ones.
Some values relate better to one another and any color can be assigned to a value.
I know that alot of people, me especially, have trouble creating an image in color and then making that image stay true to the overall tonality because one value goes this way and another goes that way.
If I do a drawing and I want that drawing to become a painting, the painting will almost never display the same tonality as the drawing. I know this because after I do a painting I scan it and change it to a greyscale in my computer. Then I compare the original drawing to the greyscale image of the painting and they don't sync up well.
I want my drawing and my painting to remain in the intended key and this method of value mapping is to me a good way to produce that as well as give important insight in correctly assigning values in the first place.
I am trying to make a good value assessment when drawing so that my painting gets the best quality in terms of tonality.
Value does all the work but color gets the credit. Lisa Gloria told me that and I believe it.
I thought of this because I see paintings in books and they are mostly black and white images and I thought if Monet was to do a drawing and a painting of the same scene how close would the tonality be to each other when both the drawing and painting were finnished?
For me, making my drawings and painting display the same tonality is important, because otherwise painting for me will be like playing Mozart on a guitar that's out of tune. I don't care how well I play the music; if the guitar is not tuned it will not sound right. Making my drawing and painting read the same way is like playing a beautiful piece of music on a perfectly tuned instrument. That is when I will feel like I have a good command of light and the ability to display that light in any key.
Well, what do you think?