For many students the importance of values is a difficult concept. And yet it is a one of the main pillars on which a good painting is based.
There are hundreds of colours to create, but there are not many more than nine values.
The great strength of a portrait and of any painting is generally located in the proper application of this series of values. The simpler the more convincing. Start at the beginning with no more than five values. And consider in advance what you want; remember values can be manipulated.
In this portrait, I wanted the white of the hair as the lightest value and the deep shadow of the cap´s flap as the darkest.
In between few shades in values. Too many changes in an area of the same value creates a weaker image.
To observe the values well, step back from time to time, to review your subject well. Step back and squint down! Actually, everyone already knows this but it is often overlooked. Sometimes I see students working for hours with their noses up to their canvases without leaving this spot. How can they, for pity´s sake, judge what they are doing?