The first thing I do when driving to a new location is input the address into my phone GPS. It’s my assurance that I will get to my destination avoiding traffic and obstacles along the way.

I use a type of GPS roadmap for painting as well. It helps me get to a successful piece while avoiding pitfalls.

My guide is a value study and it helps me determine my lights, midtones and darks. Before I even pick up a paintbrush, I create a GPS roadmap for my paintings. I convert my images to black and white by scanning, printing or photocopying in grayscale. There’s also a great app called value viewer that displays your photos in grays. 

Next, I use gray markers and create a value study of my image the size of my painting. This helps me see the white, medium and dark areas of my image. I put that up on the wall in front of me to use as reference throughout the painting process. I then know the intensity or softness of color needed since a full range of values is essential for a successful piece of art. 

Value plays a central role in my painting. It helps me add dimension to the shapes and forms, create depth and set a mood. To avoid getting lost along the way I always use my trusty map to get to the finish line.