Day 9 of building a daily painting habit. See warm shadows and cool highlights in action. Watch me trying to paint in a more painterly way. What do I learn and how does it come out.
Today I am painting clover flowers in preparation for a bumblebee tomorrow. I am trying to keep these flowers loose and painterly. I am practising some of what I have been learning about using cool lights and warm shadows to stop this painting becoming chalky. Which I think could definitely happen otherwise with this very light background.
I got this tip from watching one of Stefan Baemann videos. He was talking about when your painting looks chalky it means you have used cool highlights and cool shadows. When it looks muddy you have used warm highlights and warm shadows. He says you have to mix it up and use cool shadows and warm highlights, or cool highlights and warm shadows. Sounds simple enough but putting it into practice has been a little more tricky.
So I felt I needed a bit more information on this and went back to YouTube and searched Cool lights and warm shadows. Got a bunch of videos to watch that didn't help me at all, as they all contradicted each other. Oh art, you are a complicated thing to learn. I was getting a bit mixed up with this concept as I have learnt in the past about reflective colours in your shadows. That is the shadows taking on the colour of what is around it. Stefan was saying that the lights take on the colour that is around it. Which is true. When you do a seascape the highlights on the water reflect the colours of the sky.
But say if you are doing a still life and you have a red background. Wouldn't the highlights and the shadows be reflecting that red colour. Would I just use a cooler based red for one and a warmer red for the other? As you can see I haven't got a handle on this subject yet. Feel free to jump in with some tips.
The other thing he was talking about in one of his videos was about " You are painting Effects not things" How does the light effect the object you are painting? How can the lighting make this painting more interesting?
Also he had some interesting things to say about the centre of interest in your painting and how a camera verses your eye looks at things.
So your centre of interest should be a small area of your painting. As an artist we get to choose what we want the viewer to look at.
Now I do already know this. But after listening to him I feel I could push this even further in my work. Combined with painting more light effects which is what I have been working towards anyway in my painting development.
He was saying that modern cameras these days take photos so clear that all the foreground is in detail. That is not how the eye and your brain works. Your brain will only concentrate on one tiny area at one time. So as artists if we make all the foreground in the same detail as a photo, the brain doesn't know what to look at. As artists we have the freedom to tell our story by directing the viewers experience around the painting.
As I have said before, I love to learn and find it excites me and bursts my enthusiasm for painting. But the good and bad thing about art is that there is always something else to learn and improve on. Even when you think you know about one aspect of it you will see you hear something that just suddenly makes sense in your head and can take your art to the next level. Keeping an open mind and a willingness to try stuff out is a great asset.
Hope you are getting your paints out to and building a daily art habit.