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Adventure Series 3

Value Pattern and Key

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Scott uses a lakeside scene to key a high, medium and low value composition. He also discusses the relationship between values and planes.

27min 35sec

"The closer you can keep your values while still being able to distinguish between light and shadow, the better you are as a painter."

- John F. Carlson Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting

How do you select which key you want to use: light, middle, or dark?

Important ideas to remember:

  • A painting is always about the relationships and how each element collaborates with one another.
  • Often times, a key can be selected on where you want your emphasis to be and what type of feeling you want to convey.
  • Consider how you want your accents to read.
  • Determine key first and then color relationships second.
  • Light infiltrates the juncture of the masses and creates transitional values and/or color. The core of a dark usually stays "tucked in" a shadow shape.

One way of finding your way through chaos such as this scene, is to find the middle value against the light and then add the darks.

This might not necessarily be the best "plan of attack" so to say and the approach can be different with each scene; this again is just one way and one example on how to go about finding your key.

Just like we discussed with color, the choice on key is up to you. This has everything to do with how you want the light to read.

Sample Value Key Summary Used in this Episode

High Key: 2 / 4 / 6

Mid Key: 2 / 5 / 8

Low Key: 2 / 5 / 9

This is an example to build upon your understanding of "keying".

Rewatch this video as many times as needed to grasp this concept.

Make any changes to your key ideas and/or complete new ones.

Make a selection of which key (light, middle, or dark) you like best for your scene at hand.

Experiment and experiment and experiment more to find how you can manage your scene. We're on the adventure here, folks!

  • Key Value Sketches from Previous Episode
  • Drawing Journal
  • Value Markers
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