Elements of Art: Value | KQED Arts


[ MID-TEMPO DRUM BEAT PLAYS ] [ MID-TEMPO MUSIC PLAYS ] Narrator: THE WORD “PHOTOGRAPH”
COMES FROM TWO GREEK WORDS THAT TRANSLATE
TO “LIGHT DRAWING.” SOME PEOPLE DESCRIBE
PHOTOGRAPHY, THEN, AS DRAWING WITH LIGHT. LIGHT DEFINES OBJECTS AND LITERALLY ENABLES US
TO SEE THINGS. ARTISTS CREATE
THE ILLUSION OF LIGHT BY BEING ABLE TO PRODUCE A WIDE
RANGE OF TONAL AND COLOR VALUES. VALUE IS ONE OF THE SEVEN ELEMENTS OF ART, ALONG WITH LINE, SHAPE, FORM, TEXTURE, COLOR, AND SPACE. VALUE IS HOW LIGHT OR DARK
A GIVEN COLOR OR HUE IS. VALUES CAN BE BETTER UNDERSTOOD
WHEN THEY ARE VISUALIZED AS A SCALE OR A GRADIENT. HERE’S THE VALUE SCALE
FOR THIS GRAY TONE. IT RANGES FROM PURE WHITE
TO ABSOLUTE BLACK WITH A NUMBER OF GRAY TONES
IN BETWEEN. ANY HUE OR TONE HAS A SIMILAR
SCALE FROM DARK TO LIGHT. DIFFERENT VALUES ARE CREATED
BY LIGHTENING THE HUE. IN THIS CASE,
ADDING WHITE TO IT, OR BY DARKENING IT WITH BLACK. WHEN AN ARTWORK HAS MANY TONES
IN BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE, IT IS CONSIDERED LOW CONTRAST. FOR INSTANCE, IN THIS PHOTOGRAPH
BY NICHOLAS NIXON, NOTICE HOW MANY DIFFERENT SHADES
OF GRAY THERE ARE. A HIGH-CONTRAST IMAGE,
ON THE OTHER HAND, WOULD HAVE VERY FEW TONAL VALUES
BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE, LIKE THIS PHOTOGRAPH
BY KENNETH JOSEPHSON. THE TEXTURE
OF AN OBJECT’S SURFACE CAN PLAY A ROLE
IN HOW WE SEE VALUE. IN THIS PHOTOGRAPH
BY BRETT WESTON, NOTICE HOW THE VEINS
IN THE LEAVES OF LETTUCE CREATE AREAS
OF DRAMATIC CONTRAST BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARK. COMPARE THAT WITH
THIS PHOTOGRAPH OF BANANAS, ALSO BY WESTON. THE SKIN OF THE BANANAS
DULLS THE LIGHT, WHICH GIVES THE PHOTOGRAPH
MUCH LESS CONTRAST. THE DIFFERENT WAYS
ARTISTS CREATE LINES AND IMPLIED TEXTURES CAN ALSO
AFFECT HOW WE PERCEIVE VALUE. NOTICE HOW HEAVY AND DARK
THE BLACKS ARE IN THIS CHARCOAL DRAWING. ALSO NOTICE HOW CERTAIN AREAS SMOOTHLY TRANSITION
FROM DARK TO LIGHT. THIS WATERCOLOR PAINTING’S
BLACKS AREN’T NEARLY AS DARK. NOTICE, TOO, HOW THE SHADING
ISN’T AS SMOOTHLY BLENDED. THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE LOOKING
AT A PHOTOGRAPH, PAINTING, OR DRAWING, TRY TO NOTICE HOW THE ARTIST
IS RENDERING VALUE. AND WHEN YOU’RE CREATING
YOUR OWN ARTWORK, PRACTICE CREATING VALUE SCALES WITH A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT
MEDIUMS AND HUES SO YOUR ARTWORK SHINES
IN ITS OWN UNIQUE WAY.

35 thoughts on “Elements of Art: Value | KQED Arts”

  1. This is great, except "Cabbage Leaf" is by Edward Weston. http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/14708

  2. This series of videos is FANTASTIC! I have always given my High School and Middle School students the Crystal videos on the Elements and Principles and frankly they are boring and the kids cannot relate. The artwork used in these videos is modern, fun, and interesting to the students. There was a lot of "whoa's" and "how cool!" comments from my Middle Schoolers today. PLEASE make a series on the Principles of Design that match this set of videos!

  3. Your Element of Art series is awesome! My middle school students love the artwork and love the music! Thank you for putting these out. I show them at the beginning of each semester

  4. PLEASE make Principles of Design videos too! My middle school students love these, they are fresh and interesting and include a wide variety of artworks, many of which they can relate to. LOVE these!

  5. Holy shiz this is some quality music. The music of the gods. What was that, Zeus? Oh, you're right, this isn't the music of the gods, this is beyond. Into the realm of… infinity. I have no life

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