Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recent Paintings and a Little Bit About Shadows

Here are my most current paintings.

Here is a detail:

About two days ago, I came back home from landscape painting with my crew the DPC (we actually expanded into Philadelphia Plein Air Painters). We painted in the Philadelphia Museum of Art area, Fairmount Park, it was a sunny day but the light was frustratingly changable because of the clouds. I stepped into my room, my friend Mike dropped me off, about 3 hours before sunset, the green yellow walls in the room inspired me to set up a little still-life. I had three "new" paints in my paint box, kind of expensive, but very-very refreshing - great for life painting (especially if you like impressionist colors):

Holbein's "Violet Grey", Gamblin's "Cobalt Teal" (very similar to Turquise, believe it or not, but more on the blue side. "Turquise works well for the sky and landscape in general", my artist friend Will Sentman  said to me a few days ago, and his landscapes are beautiful. I went and bought that color - so I actually have 4 new paints), and Van Gogh's "Yellowish Green" (I find it kind of funny that it's called "Yellowish"...)

These types of strange premixed colors help me to better achieve what I desire in my paintings:  the feel of the luscious life I see in front of me, combined with my imagination, and my optimism. ;)

***Strange premixed paints can help attain luminocity in shadows, something many artists think is only possible with the thinning of the paint in shadow areas, or using the thin burnt sienna ground as a shadow or some other earth pigment color. Some artists simply struggle because delicious, colorful shadows are hard to paint (some artists try to add "black" to all the shadows to make them "dark" - nothing wrong with using black - but when all the shadows always look like black holes, or look awkward because they are too dark or too black when you are trying to make a representational painting it's emh...I guess it depends on your taste) - it really is hard to paint shadows, especially the light ones (imagine a big light shadow from a building or tree, what color is it?) - I still struggle with this, but it sometimes works out (the "good painting days"). And what about reflected light ? For these, you need an actual color, at least in most cases . :)

Found this on the web, https://sites.google.com/site/rachelshirleypaintings/painting-sunlit-objects, so true:

How to Paint Light and Shadow

Learning how to paint sunlight and shade is one of the formative skills of oil painting. Furthermore, the artist must never discount an apparently dull scene on a cloudy day, as it will often be transformed by sunlight, and light is the key to painting like the Impressionists.
How to Paint Sunlight and Shadow

Without sunlight, there is no shadow, and both must be considered simultaneously in a painting. Bright sunlight offers the artist great opportunities for using bright complimentary colours and stark contrasts in tone. The following pointers might be worth bearing in mind when trying to portray a sunlit setting.

When painting from life, time is the essence, for the sun is constantly shifting. This forces the artist to make snap decisions and to take risks. This is a good exercise for challenge
  • Most shadows are not merely black, but contain lots of colours, from crimsons, reds, greens to purples. Careful observation and accurate colour mixing is the key to capturing convincing shadows
  • The sunlit side of an object will often exhibit the complimentary hue to the shaded side. For example, a red object will often shift towards blue spectrum on the shaded side, unless there are reflections from a neighbouring object. Introducing the object’s complimentary colour is a good way of darkening its colour
  • Sunlit objects will often exhibit the most dazzling colours. Do not be afraid of using bright colours neat from the tube.
  • If something does not work out right, due to time pressures, the area can easily be tonked, which is a technique where the oil paint is erased, in order for the artist to start the area again.

****Artists who use thin paint for shadow effect: Rembrandt, Rubens, Leonardo Da Vinci, etc...
Contemporary artist (king of Lips) Jeremy Lipking does it (he uses it as base, or as actual shadow - here is an image):

Artist/s who use thick (yum) paint for shadows (something I want to learn how to do better):
My love (and many other artists' love) Van Gogh, Charles Hawthorn, Edwin Dickenson (love), and many others.

That's Hawthorn's painting, see the shadows? Alla Prima, direct.

Contemporary painters, who make Alla Prima Shadows: My teacher Scott Noel , and another hard working dedicated artist Sangram Majumdar

Scott Noel, Reclining Portrait of Vivian pastel 30 x 44 inches 2010

Scott Noel, Advent of the Muses, oil on linen, 56 x 72 inches
 ------> Look at that green, grey, silvery shadow inside that interior where the women are hovering!

I also made these little ones with paint leftovers:

Yummy Objects in Yellow Green Light 1, 6"x6"

Yummy Objects in Yellow Green Light 2, 6"x6"

***I love to make little paintings from the leftovers of the paint on the palette - I call them "Little Sisters." :))))

Have fun - enjoy! Paint!!