Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Game of Values

On a day when you are not painting/drawing, but still feel you should be doing something to push your skills forward, you can do the following exercise to hone your value observation skills.  However, you will need a smart phone for this exercise.

Get a bunch of color cards/swatches from the local hardware/paint store. As shown below.

Take any two color cards, from the bunch, and match the values to the best of your abilities saying to yourself if they are equal in value or different, and if different which one is lighter and which one is darker.  You need to have a color isolator, which is essentially made of black paper (or use one of the black color cards) with a cutout in the center.  The color isolator isolates the two colors to compare the values, as shown below.


I have an App on my (iPhone) smart phone: “Black + White Camera HD” by SixAxis LLC.  This is a wonderful app. that delivers a B&W image on my phone screen and I don’t have to snap a picture. I keep my Auto-Lock set to “Never” so that the Phone remains turned On during the whole exercise (and I don’t have to enter my password every few minutes to get back in). This way I can whiz through comparing the color cards.


Simple!  You don’t have to use any drawing/painting tools for this and off course no color mixing.

At first, when you are starting out,  you may want to compare a B&W card with a color card and when you feel comfortable, graduate to comparing color cards.  I am sure you will come up with your own creative ways and if you do please share it.

Off course, you can use any digital camera and do not need a smart phone or an app.  It is just that smart phones are so convenient and almost every other person has them.



Happy New Year 2014!!!!!

Well my friends it is 2014.  Another year and one day at a time.  I hope this year brings you joy and  is prosperous in every way possible.

Rose in a Vase

White Rose in a Vase

For My Artist Friends: I have been painting in Water Soluble Oil (WSO) for a while and just recently tested the traditional oil (TO) paint.   I have to admit TO handles much better than the WSO.  Especially when thinning, the TO does not fall apart when mixing with turpentine/mineral spirits (I use GAMSOL).  Also, with TO the painting surface either canvas, panel, oil primed and gessoed mattered very little.

I used both TO and WSO to do the painting below to see how each behaves and hands down the TO danced at my whims.  I will continue to use WSO because I sort of understand it now, but if you are a beginner I would not recommend WSO, because it can be a little struggle and if you use a cheap brand it becomes tacky with water and almost unusable.