Posted by: catailsandotherfoundthings | June 17, 2010

Let’s talk about light!

Creating the perfect lighting in paintings is beyond difficult.  In fact, inability to master light is often a key factor in failed artists.  Not because they lacked the ability, but because they gave up.  The frustration can become overwhelming.  It is very complex to match natural sunlight with white paper or electric lighting.  Artists must develop ways of tricking the eye and make the piece seem something other than they are.  Other artists take a more adventurous approach and create their own versions of light.  They use their imaginations to develop their own light variations on canvas.

"Captured by the Light" by Connie Tom

Mimicking sunlight is not the only difficulty.  Moonlight and lamplight are challenges all their own.  There are differences in color, intensity and shadowing.

Sunlight is the source of light for most landscapes and seascapes but the moon and all it’s flickering lights from water and other objects your range of value is limited.  Finding the balance between too light and too dark is not easy.  A strong technique for finding balance is to paint the scene lighter than you envision it to end up being, then when almost complete return to the painting with blue-gray glazes to lighten the painting until you are content.

Working with the sun and surrounding objects that cast dark shadows in comparison to the direct sunlight is complex to master.  Being able to transfer the shadowing into the mirrored image on canvas is remarkable.

Some painter’s compromise detail in their paintings to concentrate on simple shading and coloring and others will dedicate themselves to creating a mirror image of their landscape/seascape/object.  No matter the technique, it is amazing what the artistic eye can sea and artists hand can create.

"Moonlight On The Highwayman's River" by Sam Newton


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