NOTE: In this post, I continue the discussion on value with some exercises included. I am having to post the putative "book" backwards, since the blog scrolls down. You may want to go back to prior posts and review from the beginning.
I have said that value is relative. This is a point that you should give some importance to. Since your ability to perceive or depict differences of value may be limited, you may have to exaggerate the differences in tone in two adjoining forms or spaces.
Set up a simple still life with strong directional lighting. Concentrate on translating it as a drawing using only 3 flat values, a dark, a medium and a light tone. For this exercise, you may want to mix the three values on the palette, using the palette knife. I don't usually encourage use of the palette knife, and I’ll explain why in the Chapter on color. However, for this exercise, it comes in handy to have three distinct values. You can also do this exercise using a soft lead pencil, ink washes or other media that will give three distinct values. Or, you can use torn paper again, using white, black and medium grey.
Many successful landscape painters train themselves to visualize the landscape in four broad tones: dark, light and 2 middle grays.
As an exercise, limiting yourself to just 4 tones, do an interpretation of a landscape (or still life if it’s winter). For quick sketching, you may want to look into purchasing a set of grey markers. These can be found at any good art supply store on on-line art supply store. They even come in “warm” and “cool” grays.
Once, when I was a student, I was given the skull of a very small animal and told to spend the semester doing a rendition of the tones I saw on a piece of paper that covered one wall of the studio. I was allowed to use warm and cool grays and given some discretion as to how flat I made the forms. A copy of it follows and I have reproduced it in both its warm and cool grays and reduced to just gray scale.