I attended a workshop with Bob Rohm last year and he suggested that you pick out a color for each value before you start your painting. He didn't always end up using that color, but it was a starting point.
I put these two suggestions together when I painted the little Arches Park challenge painting the other day, but didn't have time to write about it.
Here are the photos of the pastels I chose to start with:
I don't think the mid range "brown" was too good, I didn't have a color I really liked so I scumbled the darker and lighter together. I tend to use color as a value and that doesn't always work.
As I worked on the painting, I realized I didn't pick out any greens. I also added a couple of colors to get my mid value range in the top row. Here is the full palette:
And the results in color and black and white:
This is a helpful exercise. The painting ended up with a nice amount of light, medium and dark. I will try to do this again on the next painting I start. There isn't as much variety in the greens, but they are a small portion of the painting.
Remember the color version is not true to life as I still haven't had any sun to take a better photo. The shadows on the right were much too dark in real life so I changed them. Maybe I will have sun tomorrow. It is supposed to be very cold, for here. About 50 degrees F. It got up to 80 today about 2:00 p.m. and is down to 61 degrees at 5:20 p.m. It may freeze tonight, they say. Brrrrrrr. I know, you folks up north think we are crazy to think this is cold. It is all relative I guess.