At the Sally Strand workshop last month we all shared our tips for improving the way we work and making our art life simpler and safer. Sally's contribution was to introduce us to the Val-U-Viewer (see left) which she had discovered in California.
The concept behind the Val-U-Viewer is very simple. Red acetate is placed between two pieces of card which have a viewfinder shape hole. When you look through the red acetate it converts all images to greyscale values - which helps with making better decisions about composition and cropping.
On the reverse of the Val-U-Viewer, next to the edge of the viewer is printed a 10 point value greyscale. (You can see a picture of this here). When you come to develop your artwork you can assess where any tonal value you can see through the viewer comes on the greyscale printed on the Val-U-Viewer - and then compare it to the work in progress to see where values need to be developed further.
By the end of the workshop those who had acquired a Val-U-Viewer were commenting very positively about how much it helped them to see values when drawing from life - helping both composition and rendering. I also had to scan an order form and send it off to a friend of mine recently as all the members of her art group, having seen and tried hers, have now decided they want one too!
The Val-U-Viewer has been trade marked and copyrighted by Don Murphy Studio Gallery - so no copying this design! Each Val-U-Viewer comes with a checklist of questions and instructions on how to use it. An individual viewer costs $9.95 each plus £1.25 for postage and packaging. Add another 25 cents to P&P for each additional unit if you order more than one. I got three as they make great presents!
You can also see the Val-U-Viewer on a page of his website - which has a link to the order form. You can order it from: Don Murphy Studio Gallery, PO Box 3881, Torrance, CA 90510. US funds drawn on a US bank or a postal money order must accompany the order. I guess we need to try and persuade Don it might be worthwhile to become a Paypal accredited vendor.
art, art supplies