Every artist, beginning through advanced, young and not so young, must deal with their ability to understand shading and the use of a full range of values.
I tell my students, "Go Play with a flashlight!"
Wait until night (and with day light savings time that seems later and later) and go play with a flashlight. Shine it on everyday objects, move it around and be observant of what the light is doing to the object's surface and what the cast shadow does as it falls on the table and the surfaces around it.
If you are anxious to try this activity (yeah, right, I am serious) you can find a dark room or a closet and play with the flashlight in there.
I want you to find small objects that are around your living space and place them on a white or light piece of paper. Move the light all around to research what happens. Take a pencil or wooden spoon and lean it up on one of the objects. What does that leaning shadow do? It is a look I find helpful.
I am not going to post any more right now, I really want you to play with a flashlight!
My next post will tell you what you can do with this new found knowledge.
Some suggested small objects (solid, not see through glass)
Apple, real or plastic
box of toothpicks
salt or pepper shaker
small votive candle
spool of thread
things in the junk drawer