Linework! It can really transform artwork!
More explorations in linework --
Above: Linework in a very dark color definitely enhances this art sample which otherwise is nearly dominated by middle-range values.
What is the value of values?
Picture a foot-long ruler with very dark markings on one end and white or near-white markings on the opposite end. This represents an overall value-range, which goes from very dark to white or near-white. Between the two opposites there is a progression of values, starting at the dark end and getting lighter as they move toward the white or near-white end.
For an artwork to succeed, it's a big advantage for its range of values to fall into three categories -- Large-sized Area; Medium-sized Area and Small-sized area.
Considering the entire area of the artwork above, you can see that only a small part of that space is used to establish the presence of a very dark value. This makes very dark the Small-sized value.
The Medium-sized value in this particular painting happens to be white and near-white, because these areas take up more physical space than what is used for the very dark value.
Most of the values across the body of the artwork fall into the category of Medium-sized Area.
This three-part approach keeps an "unbalanced-balance" that pleases the viewer's eye, because it avoids having all one value across the whole area.
As a general rule, sticking to just one value makes an artwork less exciting in the viewer's eye. Of course, exceptions exist, but it helps to first know the rules or guidelines, before going against them.
The three categories are completely flexible. In the example above, if dark areas had taken up the majority of the physical space, they would become the Large-sized Area. If the linework had been white or near-white, it would have become the Small-sized Area. If the medium values would have been placed in the areas that are now white and near-white, the medium values would fall into the category of Medium-sized Area.
If it helps, you can think of the Large as the Maxi-Van; the Medium as the Mini-Van; and the Small as the Sedan.
Range of values has importance in all artworks and photos, whether representational or abstract. But in abstract art-making, the value range has even more importance. It's a guideline that gives an artist a tool for catching and holding the attention of viewers.
Much of the above art-making advice was learned from a wonderful teacher of abstract art-making, Jeanette Goulart.
Abstract Composition Backbones Masks 1, 2, 3 and 4 look like this --
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