Monday, December 6, 2010
The holiday craziness is starting to heat up! I am trying to stay ahead and sane this year. Although my resistance is probably futile, I have to try!
Here are two very similar paintings. One of these was done as a class demo on brushwork and edges, and the other one is a variation I did at home. It doesn't matter which is which - I just wanted to share with you something I touched on during the demo.
Ambient light. When painting a scene like this where the sun is not out, the sky becomes the primary light source. And because the light source is the entire sky, as opposed to the intense directional light that the sun provides, the effect is much softer and often much cooler. Although not necessarily a rule carved in stone, the value jump between light and shadow of a common surface tends to be much closer, and the cast shadows are not clearly defined.
And here's a color strategy for mixing the light side of the foliage (or barn, grass, whatever) : I first established the dark side of the tree - a very low chroma green, then I painted the sky. As you can see from the two paintings, the main difference is the sky color - it's whatever dusky color you want.
Then I mixed the sky color into the shadow-side-of-the-foliage color to get the light side of the foliage. Since the sky is the light source, and it has color, it affects whatever it's illuminating. You can see that the bottom painting has a cooler foliage color as a result.
Here's the disclaimer. Don't take this as a formula! It's a good starting point, but depending on the color you start with (the dark side of the tree) and your choice of the sky color, you may end up with a color that is much grayer than you want, so always expect to make adjustments.
And another thing. This doesn't really work in direct sunlight situations, because the sky is a secondary light source, and the color of the sunlight trumps it. However, you might try it to illuminate the shadows that face the sky~ (Ever seen blue shadows? Uh huh.)
Posted by Terry at 11:09 AM