Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | May 14, 2010

Painting and Light


Today we begin a journey through the beautiful world of painting and light. Light is a magnificent creation and without it painters, like myself, could not survive and thrive. Painting would not be possible. “Light is not only the energy that drives our lives – there would be no life without it – it’s also the energy that defines our art. There would be no art without it.” -Phil Metzger

Painting has always been a passion of mine, a lifeblood. Therefore, I have learned to appreciate and respect the role that light plays in my life and art, but to master the use of light in each setting and each individual piece can be a challenge. I hope that these articles will ‘shed some light’ for you on using light in your paintings, no matter what sort of artist you are.

Article #1: Value, Color & other important Light terms.

To understand light one must understand two other terms: Value and Color.
Value is the lightness or darkness of an area. Ranges of value are used to create focal points. Light objects with dark background are noticed instantly, as will dark objects with light backgrounds stand out. A grade of value is also used to develop an illusion of depth. Light and dark may give a three-dimensional illusion, like shading part of a painted face. The darkest value is black and the lightest value is white.

Color is a visual effect of things that result from the light they emit, transmit or reflect. Objects have no color, rather they reflect a particular wavelength of light to the eye. Color varies, appearing differently when seen through incandescent, florescent or natural lighting. Colors can change with different surroundings as well.

(image credit to wiki color vocabulary:

Color Terms

In our main color scale we have primary and secondary colors.
Primary colors are red, yellow and blue and secondary colors are defined as orange green and purple. The color circle is a great way to view how the different colors mixed create other colors. The color mixing process is a beautiful art form all in itself. Using primary and secondary colors, the amount of color possibilities is endless.
Complementary color of a primary color (red, blue, or yellow) is the color you create by mixing the other two primary colors. So the complementary color of red is green, of blue is orange, and of yellow is purple.

Hue is the quality of a color as determined by its dominant wavelength. It is essentially the name we give to each color (red, blue, yellow, green).

Another term we use is intensity which describes how strong or week, bold or dull, a hue is.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please continue following my blog as we continue through our journey of Painting and Light.

“The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.” -Hans Hofmann


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