Lori McNee, “Sunset on the Snake,” 30 x 40 in.
Lori McNee, “Sunset on the Snake,” 30 x 40 in.

Advice for artists, by Lori McNee

Little did I know that my drawing background would give me a good foundation in understanding the importance of value in painting. For example, if you take a black and white photograph of your painting, the varying shades of gray represent the different values. Value is the lightness or darkness of a color or hue. Believe it or not, value is more important than color to the design and success of a painting.

Advice for artists - Lori McNee, OutdoorPainter.com
Lori McNee, “Shades of Gray,” 24 x 18 in.

Additional Painting Tips for Artists:

• Use value to create a focal point within a painting or drawing. The human eye is immediately drawn to a light element against a dark element. This creates the focal point of interest. The artist can use “low-key” or “high-key” values to achieve dramatically different results.

• Today, many successful artists believe in keeping a narrow value scale — limiting their composition to approximately four values. In this case, it seems, less is more. Fewer values help to create a cohesive and harmonious work.

• Use the hidden meaning of color in your paintings. With the use of color, artists can achieve their own creative individuality and flare. Color can also be used to evoke a certain mood, or to create a message or sharp response in the viewer. As artists, we can learn how to use the positive or negative attributes of color to subliminally send a message. Cool colors with a blue undertone bring to the mind a calming effect. Blues lower the heart rate and reduce appetite. This might be one reason Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and “Irises” are so well loved.

Warm colors, on the other hand, are based on yellow undertones and tend to convey emotions ranging from happiness to violence. Great artists like Bouguereau and Caravaggio used red to incite terror. Red instantly attracts, makes people excited, and increases the heart rate. Just think of Coke and Red Bull! Think how yellow sunflower paintings make us feel cheery. Most successful artists know how to use color to their advantage, which can help create meaning in their work.

Advice for artists - Lori McNee, OutdoorPainter.com
Lori McNee, “Autumn Grazing,” 30 x 40 in.


Now you can learn directly from Lori McNee from the comfort of your home!
Preview McNee’s art workshop video “Luminous Landscape Painting” here:

Visit Lori McNee’s website at finearttips.com.

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– Online art conferences such as Plein Air Live
– New video workshops with lessons and advice for artists
– Incredible art retreats
– Educational and fun art conventions, and much more.

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  1. Nice post! According to me paintings is a stress buster, because when I feel stressed I stand before a painting(in my bed room) and have deep look into that. Seriously I could feel the difference 🙂


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