Lakeshore house, in values

With a little extra time on my hands these days I can plan my paintings a bit more. I thought I’d post a step-by-step value sketch for a painting I hope to create sometime soon. Doing this schematic really helps me when I get to the painting stage because the composition and values have been worked out, errors can be corrected and potential disasters avoided. That doesn’t mean that every painting works out well, but the chances for success are increased.

The first stage, after the simplified drawing, is to figure out where the whites are and paint the lightest tones around them. I use a big brush, in this case a 1″ flat (on a 6″ x 10″ sheet of paper) so that it’s impossible to get too detailed. I can only paint big shapes with this.


The second step is to paint in the mid-tones, again, in big blocks. I most often use Payne’s grey for these sketches and I try to mix up enough wash on my palette to do this with one pass on the brush. In other words this brush can hold enough wash that I don’t have to dip back into the well at all.


The second to last step is to add the darks. As you can see, my focus in this painting is the top half of the sheet. I don’t want to make this into a checkerboard with little bits of dark and light all over the place. That bottom part of the composition is quieter and leads me into the action.


The final stage is to add the little bits of darkest dark that will sharpen up the value sketch. And hopefully if the final painting is successful I will post it as well.


18 Comments on “Lakeshore house, in values”

  1. Jane says:

    Thank you Shari — nice to see you painting in ‘action’ -)


  2. Pat says:

    Thank you for this, Shari…very clear, easy to understand. I need to try this on my own work!


  3. karla salyer says:

    Thanks for sharing. Great tips.


  4. tmikeporter says:

    Always the teacher. Thanks for a very valuable gift. Best to you in the new year!


  5. dezabaleta says:



  6. Ethna says:

    Thankyou for this great exercise, Shari, especially seeing it step by step!
    I also want to thank you for the variety of sketches you post for us….from your pencil portraits to the everyday objects around your home….and the lovely snowy landscapes and the city streets!
    Everytime I open my mailbox, there’s a lovely surprise!………..they are so much appreciated.
    Thankyou and may 2014 bring everything you wish for!


  7. DianeDiane says:

    What a great lesson, Shari, thanks so much for sharing these steps.


  8. Diane says:

    What a great lesson, Shari, thank you for sharing this.


  9. Lois says:

    Thanks for sharing, this lesson. Helps to see step by step for me.
    Also, thanks for all your other techniques, you share.
    Have a Great New Year.


  10. Connie Turnbull says:

    Thank you for this Shari, I love to see the steps and the process – with a little extra holiday time, I am working the same exercise . . . although painfully more slowly!


  11. Connie Renaud says:

    I love the scene. Thank you for sharing this exercise. It is making it easier to understand the values. I wish you and your family a fantastic 2014 with lots of sketching, painting, fun and good health.


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