July 12, 2019

Create Compelling Light

Alpen Glow, oil on canvas 24X30"

I often am asked by students how to achieve the effects of dramatic light in their paintings.  My mantra for my students,
and for myself is one I heard a long time ago, and I don't even remember where:


If you get all of that right, everything falls into place in a painting.  The learning edge with all of this I find to be training your eyes to see the values, colors shapes and edges that are before you.  Nailing the values is job one in order to get an accurate sense of light in a painting.  It's not about manual dexterity or  trickery, it's simply training your eyes!

Simple, but not easy.

The good news is, it's very doable.  Isolate colors and values by looking through a color isolating device (a pencil size hole in a 3X3" piece of gray cardboard will work just fine) , find value patterns by squinting down, and voila - Bob's your uncle.  Then you have to learn to mix what you see:  hue, saturation, temperature and value - and get all the relationships exactly right.  That's all there is to it.  Concentration and practice are your friends here.

If you want some help with this, here's where you can find me teaching these skills in the near future:

1.  Whistler, "Create Compelling Light"  July 20 and 21
2.  Plein Air Painting with Gaye Adams, July 26-29 (four days)
3.  Croatia Painting tour, September 30- October 9

For all the details on these workshops, click here: workshops 2019

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