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The Way To Happiness The philosophy of these lessons: Look, Learn, Practice

Chapter 17 of "The Way To Happiness" deals with Competence. I've found that too many limit their own progress as an artist with the concept that they "haven't got the talent." 90% of being a good professional artist is about looking for yourself, learning (including good study habits), and practicing what you have learned to become Competent. If you are interested in a free copy of "The Way to Happiness", please email me for one.

Interested in other lessons?

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Lesson 21

1. Thought

"Remember that whenever you alternate warm and cool paint layers, you not only build up the paint layers, but also achieve a richer color effect." John Kevin Flynn, "Answers" Artists Magazine March 92 p. 107

2. Words:

Value: 1. A fair return in money, goods, services, etc., for something exchanged. 2. Monetary worth of a thing; marketable price. 3. The quality or fact of being excellent, useful or desirable; worth in a thing. 4. Estimated or assessed worth; valuation. 5. Precise signification; import; as, the value of a word. 6. Distinctive character or quality of sound, esp. in speech; as, phonetic value. 7. That property of a color by which it is distinguished as light or dark; luminosity; brilliance. 8. ART. Hence, in painting and other graphic arts, the relation of one part or detail in a picture to another with respect to lightness and darkness. [OF. fr. valoir, past part. valu, to be worth, fr. L. valere to be strong, to be worth.]

3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."

Reading the values of colors:

Many students have expressed difficulty to me at "seeing" the value (relative lightness or darkness) of color. Here is an exercise I pulled from American Artist, July 92, that will help with this.

First, make a grey scale, running from pure white to deep black. Use any medium. Put the blocks of shades so they are running across the top of the page.

Now, take your palette of colors and decide where the fully saturated color falls in relation to the grey scale. (For instance, you will find that the blue generally falls towards the "black" end while the yellow falls towards the "white" end.

You can extend this exercise by diluting the color (with water if watercolor or white if other) or adding black or a complementary to push the color towards the dark or light end of the grey scale.

As a final exercise, see how well you did by either taking a black and white photo or xeroxing the final exercise.

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Last updated: March 1, 2004