Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2010

Official Commemorative Painting for 2010 Merrie Monarch International Hula Festival by Rod Cameron • Oil on Belgium linen • 26 x 38" ( 66.5 x 97cm ) Contact art@hawaiiart.com to inquire about this painting.

By Rod Cameron

In painting much is said about light.  To wit “light is everything.”  I’d say with no pretense of being succinct, that understanding the light source, the shapes of the lights & shadows and the color temperatures of the main illumination is the best beginning for a painting.  And for the figure this is perhaps especially so!

For the painting, “Dancer for the Merrie Monarch”,  we were not standing on molten rocks,  but I wanted a strong, low light source as if from a bright heat on the ground.  To get the effect I placed a large theater lamp on the floor of the stage to the left of the model.  The stage is about three feet higher than where I was standing,  so we’re looking up towards her.  The lamp is approximately 1100w) with a photo quality, full spectrum gel.  This emits a warm light and casts cooler shadows.  Light coming up at the figure adds some mystery.  It’s interesting, because generally the light source is from above.  Use a low light source with care to avoid the “monster lighting” effect.

What would light be without shadows?  Placing the shadows correctly is the best way to bring out the lights and all the fun, brightly colored areas.

Try some of these suggestions when establishing shadows in your painting. Keep the shadows simple and unify their shapes.  Try to keep them in large areas, grouped together rather than splotchy parts through out the figure.  Watch for these four types of shadows:  main, core, reflected light and cast.  Note the edges of your shadow shapes.  Are they soft, lost, hard or semi hard?  Use the shadow to help display the movement and direction of your model.

Always look for interesting areas of shadows, but use them only to convey the over-all essence of what you are doing.  As an example, there were interesting leaf shadows on the hula dancer’s left arm, which I simplified and used  to help describe the volume of the muscle with it’s up-lifting direction.  Under her left foot which was raised, there is a gap before the cast shadow starts and fades into the distance.  This shadow indicates stepping or the movement of the dance.

All of this shadow work in a painting is really setting the stage for the light.  Try to find the brightest area hitting the model.  Know where it is, but fill it in towards the end.  Look for your lights to be middle, light and highlight.  Highlights are best put in at the last.  Build up your values in both the light and the shadowed areas progressively together starting with the darks.  I often like to use thicker paint in the lights.

Finally, conveying movement with both lights and shadows will unify all the areas of the painting. Your paintings will have the light and movement that can bring your figures to life.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: