It's All About Values!

Color gets the credit, value does all the work!   

To create a successful painting, I find the best approach is to consider the painting as a value puzzle. It is an arrangement of light, shadow and mid-tones. Value is the skeleton upon which the painting is constructed, the colors add local interest.

Based on my experience, creating an initial B/W value study or notan and later squinting down as well as stepping back and observing the painting, play an important role in creating a more effective and pleasing painting. Happy painting!


  • Value contrast is placing the darkest values next to the lightest values. The human eye is immediately drawn to a light element against a dark element. This creates a dynamic point of interest.
  • Gradations of value are also used to create the illusion of depth.
  • Areas of light, dark and middle tones give a three-dimensional illusion of form to subject matter. 
Caryl PomalesComment