– Hey everyone, it’s
Nicholas Wilton at Art2life, and I wanted to share with
you this little, cool idea that I shared with the folks that did the Mexico workshop with me. And this is it, that if
you want to show something in your work more clearly,
you can diminish the things in your work that are really strong. And really strong means
contrast, value difference. If you want color, for
example, to stand out more, if that’s what you’re
interested in showing, then you can reduce this value contrast and that difference diminishes
and lets the more quieter, less powerful contrast of color show up. So that right there, I
might lose a lot of people. Because if you don’t, and a
lot of people don’t get this, that the value differences,
difference between light and dark, is the
most visually potent difference you can have. Far stronger than just whether the color is saturated or not, or it’s
a blue or it’s a yellow. It’s the lightness and darkness of things that we notice first. So I just wanted to just
share this with you, ’cause I think it’s really cool. So if I have for example, a high contrast, and I have a color, I’m
doing this in oil paint which is kind of crazy, and I
have a beautiful color here. If I want to, and right now this painting, let’s say that’s my painting,
this is about that contrast. This is about the, we’re
noticing that contrast, totally. And so this painting
is about that contrast. But if I wanna make it
about that color more, if I lessen this contrast, so for example, if I come in and I lessen it, suddenly now we can see the color better. So there’s this choice you get to make, and that’s basically what
I wanna share with you. That you can diminish one to
let something else come out. What we do a lot of times
is we have both being equal. Both of them are kind of the same and we get this confusion in our work. Like, it’s cooler to choose something that you wanna uplift, that one thing. Okay, so this is how it shows up. You know, it’s not as
clear as this, right? So this is a picture, this is a painting that kind of went wrong and
I’ve been scraping it off. And there’s all these layers on here, so it’s kind of like a
painting I’ll be working on. But right now, what we have
is we have high contrast down here, and because of that, the color in a way, especially in this area,
not so much up here, but especially in this
area becomes secondary to this darkness here. And so because of this high contrast, so if I want to make
this color look stronger, I can reduce that contrast of that black. I can take some of that away. It can still be dark, I’ll just try and just kind of fake it on here, and suddenly you see what
happens with the color. We start to see it better. There’s still black on
here, there’s still darks, but as this gets less, now
we really start seeing all, we start seeing this color better. And the same thing goes for, if I take, this is a high contrast here,
if I reduce that contrast down a little bit, a little bit, and take
out some of that contrast, we’ll really start to
see the color better. Because the biggest difference now becomes the difference of color, not the difference of light and dark. So it depends on where I
wanna go with this picture. If I can reduce this down and take those contrasts away, it changes the work. But a lot of times we’re
just kind of flying blind and we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s helpful to know what
we want to have the outcome, and understand where
we’re letting things come and letting things go, and
making something stand out more than another thing. This has tons of color in it and if I, still if I take that away, if I reduce this down, you’ll see it. You’ll notice these colors in here. Just leaving some black. It’s about color. And look in here, this
is all the same value. You notice, you can really see the differences of color there. If we come in and we start doing this, now it becomes about that mark and about the contrast of that, and this is secondary to it. So anyway, that’s just
a really cool idea that, I don’t know, I explained it this way and it was really helpful for people so I thought I’d share it today. Anyway, let me know in the comments what you think about this. Do you think about,
when you make your work, choosing one thing to elevate
and keeping everything kind of secondary behind it? It makes really powerful work. It makes it really powerful to work on it ’cause you’re getting this
potent thing coming out, but also it resonates with people, people connect to that. So anyway, let me know in the comments. February 14th, don’t forget, that’s when our free workshop starts. It’s the beginning of the CVP and all the Art2life season of teaching. We’re gearing up for this, it’s gonna be really, really awesome. So save that date, I’ll be
doing a whole bunch of teaching that week, February 14th,
that’s Valentine’s Day. For those of you who are new here, free download the color PDFs. It kind of talks about this a little bit. It sets up some of the
principles of color. Not exactly in this way, but
if you haven’t gotten that, do download that. Listen, thanks for being here. I hope you have an awesome Sunday. Okay, bye. Hey everyone, if you found this helpful, I’ve a whole lot more to teach,
share and inspire you with every single week. So please join the
Art2life YouTube channel by clicking the subscribe button below. Okay, great, let’s do this.


  • Vicki Kaye says:

    This is so interesting and helps a lot. Just to check that I understand correctly – I need to decide what area of contrast I need in any particular painting – e.g. lightness v darkness, colour differences, textural differences, mark making differences, shape differences. Does that make sense?

  • Martha Brane says:

    Thanks for all your sharing of your knowledge. I love hearing your points of view on varies areas of painting/life. So many of your videos resonate with what I am working on that it is profound! I know your help is freeing up my work! THANKS!

  • iamsamudra9 says:

    Your explanation is clear. However, as a grad of cvp2019 my initial reaction is confusion. In CVP there was such strong emphasis on value contrast, and middle value pieces were continually adjusted toward that end. All along the way folks were protesting that they loved color, loved middle value paintings…and were always encouraged to go for the value contrast. Maybe I missed it but I never heard any teaching like what you’re saying here. I came away with strong idea that value contrast is supreme and should always be aimed for…even when you want to showcase color, you need to do it within value contrast. I’d really appreciate further clarification on this. Thanks.

  • Michele Holden says:

    I think the way you explained it here really resonates!

  • Robert Webber says:

    Very useful point. When you are just starting out some of these concepts of yours can be life changing! Best R

  • Andrew Rea says:

    Great video. I assume this works with chromatic intensity as well? Similar intensity reveal color difference (assuming the colors are the same value).

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