Hello Friends!

I am so happy that you are here!  Understanding values when completing a painting can be so daunting.  I highly recommend painting in black and white until you really feel comfortable with the values.  Then go ahead and add in color. 



In art, value refers to the visible lightness or darkness of a color.  It is relevant to the darkness or lightness of any color.  Value is easiest to visualize in a work with only black, white and gray scale.  I have two photographs below.  If you look at the color photo, it is not as easy to see the lights and darks of the various colors.  However, the variations of lights and darks are quite easy to see in a black and white photograph.  When drawing or painting you only have to worry about two colors and the variations of those two:  black and white.  This is why we are going to start with a black and white portrait this week.





Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 12.55.34 PM

There are so many ways to go about explaining what value means in art and there are so many wonderful resources to help us to understand this concept. KQED Arts on YouTube has an amazing series of videos on the 7 elements of art.




Connect with other creatives TODAY in my private Facebook Artist Community!  When you are done with this lesson you can share your work there!  It is a great place for you to connect with the most supportive and encouraging group of artists!



  • Identify values in photographs and in our artwork.
  • Understand how to use the gray scale and value finder
  • Experiment with values on the gray scale and paint a portrait.




  • 12x16 Wood Cradle Board
  • Stabilo Marks All - Black - alternative material Derwent Inktense black
  • White Charcoal Pencil - General's
  • White Gesso
  • Clear Gesso
  • Black Gesso or Black Acrylic Paint - I use black gesso and black heavy body acrylic
  • White Acrylic paint - I used soft and fluid
  • Paintbrush - I use filberts by Royal and Langnickel - Zen, Sizes 10, 8, and 6
  • Varnish - Krylon Crystal Clear
  • Reference Photo
  • PDF Support Document

Introduction to Values - Intro

Introduction to Values - Part 1

Introductions to Values - Part 2

Introductions to Values - Part 3

Introductions to Values - Part 4

Introductions to Values - Part 5

  1.  Click on the review link underneath the video you are watching.
  2.  Click on the ‘download’ button under the video.
  3.  Choose the version that you want and right click on the link.
  4.  Choose ‘save target as’ and download to your computer/drive.

Did you enjoy this lesson?  We would love to see you join another course on our network!  Visit the classes available now!  You can also use the code BLACKANDWHITE to receive 30% off of any mixed media course that is regularly priced!


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