Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Three Value Exercise

Limiting yourself to only THREE values in a painting, 
really drives home the importance of getting your values right! 
It forces you to simplify the shapes 
and make design decisions ahead of time. 

My Demo 

Today, on white watercolor paper, we used only three values; 
black, white and a middle value grey (50% black 50% white).
Note: The tendency is to mix the middle value too dark 
so be sure to compare it something! 
NO Blending. Just flat shapes!  

It is surprising how much drama you can create with
 just three values and good design! 
Here is just a sampling of the results!  

I recommend this exercise to both 
beginners and experienced painters. 
It's eye opening and a lot of fun! 


  1. I love it when you post these exercises. This one and the last one about Macchia are making the landscape I'm painting MUCH simpler.

  2. Thanks, Nancy,

    I am going to try this with my class next time.