Sunday, March 6, 2011

Seeing and Translating What You See

Nice present!  After 10 hours driving through rain and fog from Vermont we get an over night snow dump.  Another chance to study the rainbow.  I'm just not ready for the snow pattern, and stick and mud seasons.

Here is what we saw last time.  Three basic shapes.  Squint to see them.  They need arranging and such but that is not the issue here.

Sun, Shadow, Dark Vertical

To begin with we can look at this through the idea of values.

Hi Lite         -       Middle Values       -         Accent

Here the value scale is shown as 10 steps.  The areas in the light will be in the first 5 values.  The lightest is reserved for any hi lite should it be required.  The shadow areas will be in the last 5 values.  The darkest is reserved for any accent should it be required.  The middle value is for the bed bug line, that area of transition between dark and light (5-6).  Now, this scale can be slid either way for lighter or darker colour keys, but the idea is the same.  Every brush stroke has to be either in the light or the shade.  You have to know this for every stroke.  The darkest dark in the light is lighter than the lightest dark in the dark.

From last time we know that the colour in the light is not white.  Mix an appropriate violet for what you see in that value, perhaps a 2 or 3.  Perhaps leaning to blue.  For the dark shadow mix that violet in a darker value, perhaps a 7.  Now mix the warm you see (perhaps a yellow) into the light value pool maintaining the value and apply this in a painterly fashion over the violet as you see it.  There will probably be cooler areas in the light as well.  For this cool the mix in a slightly darker value and apply it in the light area to define the contours.  There will be reflected light in both the light and shadow (perhaps a warm orange in the light and a cool red in the shadow, a blue or green in the shadow).  Finally there might be a hi lite in the light area.  Mix that as a warm with a value near 1 as you see it.  Here is what I saw when skiing.  A lot of values in the light.

Hi Lites in the light Area


  1. stop with the bedbugs already.

  2. Hey, how are you? Nearly a warmer season. Ready to get out there?

  3. I have enjoyed your last three posts. I run into the same issues with students who are painting white walled interiors or white objects in a still-life. Seldom is white white. You have said it well.

  4. Hence the famous toilette paper exercise.

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