Yesterday I was working on a pencil portrait of a little girl and I found myself telling the visitor about the importance of values. “Squint!” I said, and he dutifully squinted. “See how squinting reduces the image down to darks and lights?” He nodded and a grin formed on his face. “The darks and lights are values. You can see if your darks are dark enough when you squint.” A part of my brain was following along and noticed that, actually, the darks on my drawing weren't dark enough. Better get that fixed right away. Then I said, “It's helpful to squint at various paintings and see the composition of darks and lights. Take a look at the paintings around here.” And he turned and looked with fresh eyes at the work in our gallery. And I picked up the pencil and got busy with my darks.