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Tonal Values

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coloured greyscale


Tonal values are what make a painting 'talk' not the colour - no matter how much colour you put in a picture, if the values are not correct, it will make no difference. These flowers are shown painted on a light background and the same picture showing it's tonal values.
This shows the range of tonal values and how they 'appear' set against the light background. Light to dark and light against dark.

On the grey picture, which flowers appear to come forward and which recede?




This greyscale is made up of actual parts of the painting, in ten sections from white through to black. See if you can find the colour by it's tone on the greyscale, scroll down a little, see the greyscale compared to the dark background............ not sure?
For the coloured version click here


coloured on black greyscale on black


Same picture given a dark background and it's tonal value.
This shows the range of tonal values used, set against the dark background and the above greyscale applies to each, as does the coloured version. 

Try using your hand in front of the screen to block out the coloured version, notice that the colour distracts our eyes from seeing the tone/value.
On the grey picture, which flowers appear to come forward and which recede?



Coloured version.


The tonal values appear different against the light background when compared with the same values set against the dark background.

Each background seems to make some flowers come forward and others recede, this is due to the tone of the flower against the background, their apparent position is relative to the contrast of the black or white background not the colour. 

(If you have trouble picking out tone/value in a coloured picture or view, 'squint' at it).

All artwork Jacqui Blackman

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