Before nearly every painting session, be it studio or on location, I’ll do a quick Notan drawing. Nōtan is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notan). Notan drawings are very helpful in seeing the design concept you’re working with in terms of the arrangement of values. These are drawn on 4×6 blank note cards with a Zebra fine ball point pen. Then in a manner similar to working in watercolor from light to dark, I shade in each value using prismacolor cool gray markers. I use the values 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and black. Like paintings, they become a visual journal and so I write on them the time and place. The depiction of a lit sphere in one of the corners is the light direction or L.D. This sphere is a good indicator as to how to handle the various planes on the form in the landscape.