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  • Writer's pictureFatima Learn

Value Of Color

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

“What do you think is of greater importance, Value or Colour?” This is a question that can be interpreted differently depending on who you are speaking to.

For instance, ask an Artist and they will go on to explain that “Value” is defined as the degree of lightness or darkness. The word “Colour” is seen as a hue which is a result of the way an object reflects or emits light and gives off a certain appearance. Most likely you will find yourself in an intense discussion about which one takes higher priority.

Ask someone who knows nothing about art and most likely they will look at the alternative meanings of value and colour. It depends on your personality or if you think from the right side of the brain or the left side. The word Value is more commonly known as the merit or worth of something. The word Colour can be perceived as skin pigmentation, an indication of someone’s race.

Critque Vs. Judging

When looking at something an artist admires the accuracy in the value levels of the colours because the light and dark contrasts are what makes good art. If we take the alternative meaning of “value” and “colour” then you are no longer critiquing but rather judging. What’s the difference? Critiquing would be an opinion whereas judging would be to sit in judgment on or pass sentence so to speak. Either way someones going to get hurt.

Pablo Picasso was quoted as saying “Every child is an artist. The problem is to remain an artist once they grow up.” He made an effort to stay away from reality and logic with his forms much like a child but not with his use of colour and value. I believe Picasso’s artwork is all about the use of colour and values to create a composition that is perplexing but truthful to some degree.

I encourage everyone to see the words “value” and “colour” from an artist perspective. An artist will always see colour as having values and that value can also be present without colour. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and something can have a different meaning to someone else. Such is life.

Image - “Seated Women in Blue Dress” painting by Pablo Picasso


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