But what exactly are the roles of these two indispensable elements? Let’s start off by taking a look at value.
The role of values in a painting
Value is a term we use to refer to lights and darks in a painting and this is the most important of all the visual elements. The value helps us to describe the depth and intensity of the painting. If we get the value right, the color can be off and the painting will still work.
Values describe the scene in ways that colors cannot
In a representational painting, value plays the role of describing three important characteristics of the subject
Value describes whether the item has volume or is flat and where the light source is located. How dull or bright it is.
Without the color we still read the shape and form of the sheep and tree; we still understand the texture of the sheep, grass and foliage; and we know that the sun is located low in the sky and off to the right. Value, then, makes it possible for us to know what we’re looking at.
Without clear values in a painting, objects will appear flat, lifeless, and uninteresting.
Using Notan to describe value
Notan makes it easier to see how the dark and light follow and link to one another throughout the painting. It helps to determine the strength of the structure. Value helps us to follow a path through the painting and that can only be determined by using a grey scale value
Notan and grey scale is essential to create good visual imagery. No good artists should attempt to design their painting without these.