Success in any painting has meant that I have created adequate tonal value nuances of light and dark. When I find areas that seem ‘flat,’ without depth, not very interesting, without shape or form; I always discover I have not created enough tonal variations in that area.
The very basic, minimum I can scrape by with are 3 Tones (Light, Mid, Dark tone.) But it’s far better to create 5, 7, or even 9+ tonal values for a richer more sensitive depth filled painting. I’ve posted a couple prior posts that have additional information you may find useful; Light and Shade and Depth and Perspective.
In both of these images, counting the white of the paper, there are a minimum of 7 tonal values to help create shape, form, depth, layering.
I chose these three, similar, yet different in that two are quite Cool in palette with one having areas more defined for the viewer. The other “Mountainside” is slightly warmer palette, earthier, and it allows the viewer more freedom to interpret the subject on a personal basis as opposed to having it spelled out for them.