Monday, May 21, 2012

Adding a pinch of Science to my Painting!!

I always thought that painting is all about just color & value.  As a beginner I struggle to see color, shape and value in nature.  The mind is so persuasive that an obvious thing like color becomes indecisive. However my struggle with color,value and shape continues and hopefully I will win this battle some day.
Off late I have been reading a few art books (bibles for me) and as some of you may know I have also been taking "Landscape Painting"classes with renowned artist Craig Srebnik.  In these last few weeks I have learned that apart from these basic components(shape, value, color)  there is a lot of Physics that goes into making a painting look realistic.  When I say Physics,  I am referring to the way light touches/bounces on/off different objects.
Here are  few points I noted.
  • On a bright sunny day, the light is considered cool and not warm since the scattered color in the atmosphere by the sun's rays is primarily blue.  Hence morning light is cool light and NOT warm light!! The light begins to get warmer as we approach sunset.  The landscape may look well lit and warm but the light from the sun is cool light.  A new thing I learned.
  • Again a cool light casts warm shadows.
  • The early morning and late evening light is warm light.  Primarily because the eye sees a lot of the longer wavelengths like reds/yellows/oranges.  A sunset/sunrise may feel or look cooler but the light is very "warm".
  • A warm light casts cooler shadows.  
  • It is the shadows that tell the time of the day in a painting.
Morning Glory(study) 8x10 oil on panel

As an exercise to study light, I did this small study painting "Morning Glory".  My aim in this painting was to emphasize the light .  I wanted the painting itself to spell the time of the day.  This was during Sunrise, and as you can see, the painting looks very calm and cool.  There are no sharp shadow contrasts and the landscape is very pleasing.  However, the light is very warm.  There is a conspicuous presence of warm palette in this painting...Cad Yellow, Cad Red Light, Cad orange, Burnt Sienna, Warmed Gray Purple, Cad Red Deep (shadows).  I did a lot of thinking while painting this one.  Of course I had to pay attention to shape and value, but I also had to remember a little bit of Physics :)
I probably would have painted this it exactly the same way even without knowing about the Physics of light.  However  this time I knew WHY I was leaning toward warm colors even thought the landscape looked so cool.  Every brush stroke had a meaning! Adding a pinch of Science makes painting even more involving.  It makes you think ... even more!!
As always I enjoyed making this painting.  I'll probably go bigger with is one.
Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you had a good read.  We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter... Google+  and.. Pintrest


  1. Ria, I have really enjoyed watching you grow as an artist...and now, as a blogger too! Congrats on all your hard efforts. They are paying off with beautiful work.


  2. Lori,
    Thanks so much. Every word of yours means a lot to me. Thanks again.