Acrylic Painting Lesson 7: Introduction to values

The goal of the seventh lesson is to an introduction to values and understanding their role in the composition of painting. Values that fade in the distance help to give a sense of perspective.

I know it has been awhile since I did a painting for my 50 small paintings challenge. My time and energy have been directed elsewhere since spring arrived. We've spent more time playing outside and gardening. I'm ready to paint again now that we are stuck inside with several rainy days.

The problem is the rain has driven the ants inside, too!

This happens every spring, although not nearly as bad since we have been customers of On the Fly. Unfortunately heavy rain still tends to send the ants into our home, and apparently other people's homes, too. This is the longest I've had to wait for service -- another week!

Challenges Getting Started

The annoying ant invasion is happening right by the window where I like to paint. I've had to wait so long to do my next painting, you naughty ants, you won't stop me!

Just so you know, I crushed several enemies in order to be able to do this painting. 

As I explain to children, we don't hurt the insects and arachnids outside in their home (unless they're mosquitoes or ticks trying to hurt us), but if a creature comes into our home uninvited, SQUISH! The hundreds of pet silkworms we are raising right now are ok; a trail of ants is not.

So I rescued my easel and box of paint tubes and then set up in a different spot. The lighting was not as good and the space for my supplies was crowded, but I managed.

There were no annoyances from the young artist today because she was happily occupied with markers in another room.

Subject Matter for an Introduction to Values

As you probably know by now, I like to make the work my own and find something more inspiring to paint from instead of just copying the book. I had some trouble with this one. 

I tried to find a good photo of the mountains in Cumberland, Maryland. I have memories of being there, but no usable photo for this exercise in values. I couldn't find anything quite right online either. There were some nice options with mist and fall foliage, which was appropriate to my own experience there, but playing with colors wouldn't be studying values. 

One of the cool things about painting is that it can do things photography cannot. It is difficult to capture a landscape photo in the dark or where there is a high contrast between light and dark.

I decided to be inspired by a daytime photo of Cumberland township with the hills in the background and do my own interpretation of what an area like that could look like on an overcast and misty morning with the valleys still in darkness.

My Painting for Today

My painting is supposed to show a grey day with misty fog rolling over the hills and into the valley. It was a grey and misty painting for a grey and rainy day with too many ants inside.

painting: misty hills7 of 50 - Misty mountains like Cumberland, Maryland 5/18/2018

Status: Not for sale yet

In the foreground, you can see a village still in darkness with some lights on inside the buildings. Doing the village was my favorite part of this painting.

I struggled with going from dark to light for the hills. In watercolor painting, which I am much more familiar with, you always work from light to dark. The treetop edges just did not look right to me, so I turned the canvas upside down so I could hold the brush at a familiar angle.

I put the canvas (actually claybord) back to the correct orientation and placed it on the easel to do the sky. That did not go well. I had some trouble adjusting the color, and then I painted a little too vigorously and it flew off, landing on the floor face down. Luckily, acrylic dries fast! There was only a little mess to wipe up and the part with the hills that I'd already done was unharmed.

More to Explore

acrylic painting lessons
acrylic painting supplies
acrylic painting for beginners

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