The Value of Value

When you're painting, color isn't the only thing that matters.

By: Del Herbert
Photography by Del Herbert

I painted the feather shafts with mix number 1. Then, I dry brushed the lower halves of each feather with a slightly darker value than the base hue. The upper halves get a slightly lighter value.

There are many aspects to wildfowl carving, including sculpting and painting. All require specific knowledge and skills. In my quest to improve my artwork, I will frequently isolate a single parameter and try to improve it. In this article, I'll discuss my efforts to improve painting skills by working with one parameter: value. When discussing color theory, we talk in terms of hue, value, and intensity. Most references use a gray scale or neutral value scale to explain value. White is the highest value (10) and black is the lowest (0). With our artwork, objects that are in a direct light source will have a higher value than those that are not. Things that are closer to our eye have a higher value, and those further away have a lower value. In this article, I'll attempt to give dimension and life to a painting using only these principles.

This article is from the Winter 2012 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


Free tutorials, expert tips, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password