Friday 11 July 2014

The Pensive Palette: You Light Up My Life

“Water Dance”, 12”x16”, oil on board

Most realist painting includes an element of what we see.  The majority of people think we see stuff.  The reality is we see light reflecting off of stuff.  How we see the stuff depends on the quality, intensity, and color of the light source that allows us to see the object.  As a painter, it is important to remember we are capturing the effects of light on objects.  Developing a keen eye and ability to really see light is paramount.  We need to be able to distinguish subtle changes and shifts in light quality.  The more we understand the world around us, the more we can dissect and reconstruct it in our art.

My painting “Water Dance” is all about the gorgeous, fleeting time of day before sunset known as the magic hour.  The sun’s light is nearing the horizon and traveling at a more severe angle, needing to pass through more air molecules.  Short blue and violet light waves are scattered by the atmosphere and longer orange-red light waves pass through unaffected.  This produces the warm glow we see on objects near sunset.  

The observant artist can study all the light around them and make use of quality, direction, and color of light to convey time of day as well as mood and emotion.

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