Looking at Light

Thanks to a brilliant idea from Earthbalm I’m going to deviate from my painting book for a couple of days and have a look at tints and other highlights. It makes sense after looking at shadows.

I had a look on the internet to find out some basic stuff.  Apparently a tint is a lighter tone of a colour caused by adding white to it.  This is the basic definition which I’ll use, although I have noticed that the tint which you actually get in real life is not always white – it mixes the colour of the object which is being lit with the colour of the light.  So if you had a red object under blue light the tint might be a kind of purple.  A grey object under red light would have a lighter red tint.  More importantly to a lot of painting, landscapes under yellow or orange light (during a sunset) will pick up yellow and orange tints. (I think.)

Then I found this great video on You-Tube:

It’s by a chap called Richard Robinson – he’s clearly a really good artist and I think he’s a super teacher as well.

I decided to have a go at the exercise he’s doing in this video – it concentrates on light, especially glowing light and the subject is simple enough for me to handle ok.  I don’t have any oils at the moment so I’m going to use gouache, nice and thick so it performs light oil paint.

Like Mr Robinson does in the video I used paint to sketch out my shapes to begin with.  It’s the first time I’ve painted with no pencil underneith.  I found that, although the mountains themselves are quite simple shapes, the lighting effect I was trying to do was actually really difficult.  I got so engrossed in it that I forgot to take any process photographs.  I tried to lighten and deepen the colour of the glow as I got closer to the sun but it was hard.  At first I failed because I wasn’t concentrating hard enough on my mixing, but I think with this kind of exercise the mixing of the exat colour you need is the most important thing.  Eventually I got something down which began to look a bit like the lighting effect I wanted.  It will take more practice to really get the hang of it though.

Here’s my first try:

MountainLight1_fin_webAnother thing which I found really interesting whilst doing the painting the above was that, at first I was feeling reticent and a bit stingy with my paint.  Because of that I kept struggling to get the paint thick enough to work it how I needed and that almost ruined the painting.  What I learned from this is that there is, I think, a generosity needed in artistic endeavour, a giving kind of spirit which lays the paint down fully and freely even though it’s not exactly cheap and you have no idea, at the beginning if it will work out.  It is an act of faith.


3 thoughts on “Looking at Light

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