Sunday, 18 May 2014

Into the Light

Into The Light
Watercolour on Paper
28cm x 14cm (11" x 5.5")

Yesterday was the Shelford Group of Artists’ painting day for May. Tony Slater's theme was Into the Light.

Painting “Into the Light” involves placing the subject directly in front of a strong light source, usually the early morning or late evening sun. The subject is silhouetted against the light which may seem to create a halo around it. Long shadows stretch towards the viewer. The results are often atmospheric and evocative of time and place.

Before the workshop, Tony suggested we look at the paintings of David Curtis who is a master of the this sort of lighting.

James Gurney also acknowledges David as an expert in the technique (see and supplies the posh term for the lighting effect - Contre-jour lighting. This is one of the topics that James discusses in his excellent book "Color and Light".

The only good source photograph I had was a scene of a graveyard on a sunny evening. When I started the picture, I realised I wasn't in the mood for such a complex subject. Instead I experimented with a view of some clouds with the sun behind them from a summer evening in Dartmouth.

I painted the same scene five times using different techniques: sometimes using gouache to create sunlight on the water, sometimes relying on just dry brush work and sometimes using wax as a resist. This is my favourite of the five - it was also the simplest and fastest to paint. I didn't create a finished painting, but I had fun, plenty of painting practice and learnt from my experiments.

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