Posts Tagged ‘shadows’

Pushing It a Step Further

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

I found the monochromatic push-pull study, which I wrote about last time, a surprisingly difficult challenge. So I decided to apply the same push-pull concept to a full-color study. The result was “Potted Patio” (#110304) in which I was able to explore the concept of bounced light as it played along the walls of a shaded enclosure.

110304 Potted Patio

Aside from the shadows and reflected light shimmying along the white stucco, I had to consider how the light, shadows, and shapes would be reflected in the semi-gloss of the tile floor. Even the birds’ nest in the rafters posed a challenge.

But I’ve found that the very act of creating artwork is an exercise in problem solving in which the artist is faced with a series of interconnected challenges to overcome. Call it a learning experience, if you wish. I call it fun.


Saturday, January 1st, 2011

When eliminating elements from a photograph, the artist should be careful to eliminate corresponding reflections elsewhere in the composition, such as in puddles, color bounced off nearby opaque surfaces, and in polished or otherwise reflective surfaces.

Lucca Rain

In “Lucca Rain” (#101103), I omitted several elements from the original photograph to simplify the composition. I had to also be careful not to copy their reflections, as it would have been confusing to include reflections, for instance in the puddles in the foreground, of elements that did not appear.

Reflectivity should also be taken into account when changing the appearance of the sky —an overcast sky casts softer shadows than a clear or partly cloudy sky does; contrast is lower, and (in general) colors appear more muted. Exceptions are those elements that appear more highly saturated when wet or when juxtaposed with the other, more muted tones surrounding it, such as tree trunks (which often appear darker when wet) and brightly colored clothing.

There is a strong temptation to limit use of a contrasting color to the focal point in the composition. However, it is a mistake to introduce any color, particularly a saturated one, into a composition without reflecting that hue elsewhere in the painting—whether in direct, mirror- or water-type reflection or through bounced color. The hue can appear more muted in shadowed or obvious reflections areas or be repeated at any level of saturation in minor elements elsewhere in the composition. This helps to unify the painting and keeps the contrasting color in the focal area from appearing out of place.

The reds of the woman’s jacket and umbrella in “Lucca Rain” are repeated faintly in the asphalt underneath the row of trees to her left and are reflected to a lesser degree in the puddle beneath her feet. An underlayer of red was also used in the roof dome above her.