Thursday, June 9, 2016

Painting Reflective Light

Ripple Effect
16x12 Oil on canvas
Ripple Effect was inspired by a beautiful sunset I viewed from Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park last summer.
I learn something new with every painting. The challenge is to interpret and express my connection to the subject. The relationship typically occurs in the planning phase or initial development. In this scene, I was most fascinated with the radiant properties of sun, as the light began to fade.

Here are the concepts I used in creating this work:
Clouds consume the majority of the canvas, with the sun along the lower third. The vertical format projects a sense of height and atmosphere, although a horizontal format would most likely translate similar properties.

Tones and Pigments
Medium tones surround the single brightest area of the sun. I used little white, even in color mixing. If you are a new painter, I would encourage you to try using pure pigments to lighten colors, instead of always opting for white. The end result will be a more vibrant hue. You will also discover some amazing new colors in the process! Lightening with white often causes a chalky and dull presentation when dry. However, there are situations where you might prefer a subdued palette and matte appearance.
Horizon Lines
Before starting this painting, I thought about how to create perspective in the clouds and horizon lines by the use of edges and details. With sunsets/sunrises, I try to create a sense of flowing atmosphere from to bottom, which means obscuring the horizon line. In this work, the horizon plays a supporting role in defining the atmosphere and provides a hint of the location with the hilltops and lakes.
Some of my works have sharp and crisp horizon lines. I will often use a defined line with sunny beach scenes, to emphasize the blue tones and depict the time of day. 

Variation in the Clouds
I also added cloud variations in layers to create a sense of depth. The layer that is nearest the viewer is defined by thin wavy lines of color. Distant clouds appear blended.
Painting the UnSun
When it came to painting the sun,  I broke the traditional round white orb format. My objective was to express the amazing effects that a small and irregularly shaped sun can have on a landscape and sky.

Define Under Lighting
Under lighting is the term I am adopting for this type of scenario - when the sunlight highlights clouds below their surface.
The direction of light source greatly guides the outcome. During the daytime, clouds will typically have direct lighting or back lighting. Ideal times for viewing sunsets or sunrises have a mix of clouds, with sun exposure that creates a vast range of colors. I have also witnessed amazing displays with angled lighting, moments prior to sunset.

Before your next landscape painting, think about the role the sky plays. How much space should it consume? What characteristics do you most want to depict? Which colors and patterns best describe the atmosphere, and how will it affect the landscape or body of water below it?

Thank you for reading and commenting ~ Eve :)

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