Posts Tagged ‘lighting’

What is your background?

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

In order to feature the two figures in “The Challenge,” I decided to minimize the background, which, in the reference photograph, was a rather busy room.  I tried the same composition using both a dark (#090704) and a light (#090706) background.  The resulting difference was dramatic.  (This item is categorized under The School of Oops not because it was a mistake but because I learned a great lesson from my experimentation.  You’re invited to comment on the “lab” results.)

The Challenge 1

The dark background draws attention to the playing board, lit by a glaring, bare bulb almost directly overhead, which also fades the players’ features into shadow.  Focus is on the board and the impending move.  The question posed is “Who…or what… is challenging whom?”

The Challenge 2

The light background, on the other hand, draws attention to the two players, rather than to the board, and suggests a higher level of ambient light that reflects more color into the players’ faces.  The play here is only a moment away from that in the other version as the player in blue now contemplates the board.  Is he reassessing the position into which he’s just placed his opponent, or is he evaluating his own predicament?

Not only does the background I chose for each version affect how the viewer interprets the scene, but it affected my own approach and response to the subject matter as I painted.  My treatment of the details in the two versions is somewhat different, partly because of the tone set by the different backgrounds.

I would be interested to hear comments regarding your preference of the two versions and why you feel about each the way you do.

Fooling with flowers

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

A white flower can fool you!

I’ve always been intrigued by the form of flowers.  I remember, as a child, studying a daffodil and being awed to discover that the golden trumpet and the crowning petals were all of a single piece, blending seamlessly from one to the other.  But wholly aside from form, color can also provide an interesting study.

Plant forms and colors still fascinate me:  the almost endless array of greens in the early spring; the golds and purples of autumn; petals of diaphanous fragility or succulent solidity; the innumerable textures of deciduous bark and the intricate woven appearance of a palm trunk; leaf shapes—round to bladelike; stems—woody to fibrous; and seed pods of too many shapes, colors, and sizes to list.  I continue to be attracted to textures revealed by light rippling across a surface, delicacy disclosed when light glows through a leaf or petal, and unfurling layers differentiated by color, texture, and shape.

100302 Mega Magnolia

Mega Magnolia

It still surprises me that an apparently monochromatic flower can harbor so many variations of tone, reflect so many different hues from its surroundings, and still be seen by some viewers as simply “white.”  Don’t be fooled.  I used both blue and yellow ochre, as well as a touch of orange at the petal tips, to model the “Mega Magnolia” (#100302) shown here.

You might want to compare it with the various other white flowers shown in the Botanicals Gallery to see the range of colors found in the “white” blossoms represented there.