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 home from landscape painting with my crew the DPC (we actually expanded into Philadelphia Plein Air Painters). We painted at Fairmount Park behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The sun was out but because of a few clouds the light was very inconsistent. When my artist friend Mike dropped me off at home I was still in painting spirits, and the green yellow walls in the room inspired me to set up a little still-life. The sun was going to set in about three hours, so I knew I had to work fast and keep things fresh. I had three new expensive paint tubes in my box, so I decided to challenge myself and us those.

The colors were: Holbein's "Violet Grey", Gamblin's "Cobalt Teal" (very similar to Turquoise but more on the blue side). "Turquise works well for the sky and landscape in general", my friend Will Sentman  said to me a few days ago, and his landscapes are beautiful so I had to try either Turquoise or something similar (I bought Turquoise too...). And the final color was Van Gogh's "Yellowish Green". I find that these types of strange premixed colors help create luminosity in my work, and I often mix them into shadows.

Many artists struggle to create believable shadows - they either add a bunch of black into a shadow and overdo it (shadows look like black holes), or they thin some dark paint which often works but there are other ways as well. :) How about colorful shadows? Delicious, colorful shadows are hard to paint and it takes some practice. And then there is reflected light to consider. Reflected light is hard to avoid, because more often than not it is an actual color that sits within a darker shadow.

Found this relevant website for shadows: https://sites.google.com/site/rachelshirleypaintings/painting-sunlit-objects

ust 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 successfully use thin paint for shadow effect: Rembrandt, Rubens, Leonardo Da Vinci, etc. Contemporary artist, Jeremy Lipking, often uses thin paint for shadows or it's simply a base that will later acquire a color. 

Some artists who use thick (yum) colorful paint for shadows:
Van Gogh, Charles Hawthorn, Edwin Dickenson.

The image above is a Hawthorn's painting (...I cant find the title). The shadows were painted directly via Alla Prima. They are neither black nor thin, so it's another way to paint a shadow!

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 leftovers paint. I those "Little Sisters." :))))

Have fun - enjoy! Paint!!