December Water Reflection in Florida
As many of you mentioned in your comments and emails, value is a strong link to beautiful works of art. It is color’s most important silent partner. To clarify, value refers to how light or how dark a color is. The three major value ranges are (1) low value (dark colors), (2) high value (light colors), and (3) middle value (those colors that are neither dark nor light). When a work of art is made primarily from low-value colors, it is considered low-key. An artwork using mostly high-value colors is high-key. A design created with mostly middle-value hues is middle-key. Today’s post features high-valued colors and high-key images. High-value colors create beautifully subtle designs.
Truly, working in high-value is subtlety at its best. High-value colors are light and often appear visually weightless. They seem to float in space. High-value hues include the lightest pure colors. the majority of tints, the lightest shades of light pure colors, and light-colored tones. I have selected several high-key images for today’s post, so that you can see how high-value colors can be used effectively to make a subtle or delicate visual statement. I hope you will be inspired both by the evocative beauty that is created with light hues and by the freshness of soft, clear colors.
Value Contrast is Essential for a Design to Be Successful
Value contrast is essential when working with any design. Without the presence of value contrast, a design appears to be without direction or visual meaning. It is quite lost and often mundane when value contrast is lacking. Because creative energy and time are precious commodities for you, always take the time to assess how you want to use value in your designs during their planning stages.
When you are working only with high-value colors, your value-use options are fewer than if you were working with a wider value range. Realistically, your choices are one of the following: limited contrast, full high-value range contrast, or gradation. Think about how you want to use value most effectively in your design. Then match the type of value contrast that best suits your ideas.
Look at the water reflection at the top of this post. It appears more like an abstract painting than a still photograph. I am very drawn to this high-key image with its soft toned hues and limited value contrast. Even though this high-value image is subtle, value contrast is present. The colors move in value from very light to a darker part of the light-value range.
Ice Crystals on the Hebe
In this wintry garden scene, a Hebe in surprising winter bloom found its stems and blossoms encapsulated by ice one snowy day. The soft, high-value hues seem to present a sense of fragility. The value contrast is very limited, but it does exist. If all of the colors were the same value, everything would merge together in one big blob. This image shows us that even when limited value contrast is present, our eyes can interpret the visual clues within the design. This is a high-key image.