Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gradation for Light

Most of the time we paint a light reflection, not the source.  This however, applies to both.  Reflected light varies in intensity with the highlight the pinnacle.  This is a gradation.  Only a small area of an object in the light reflects the full force of the source light.  (painting a light source then is similar to a highlight)  Other parts catch the light at different angles reflecting varying quantities of light.  As a result, a highlight cannot be effectively painted as a spot of white paint.  (White is another problem for another time)  The gradation towards the light is what makes the highlight so effective.

Still Life by David Leffel

And no, it is not just the value contrast at work.

The Young by Joaquin Sorolla

Gradation gives the landscape luminosoity.  Without it the observer merely labels a passage "this is light, this is shadow" and it no more convincing than a jet black tree against a bright sky.  The observer thinks paint, not light.  Painting from life trains the eye to see such things.

Sure it works with abstract....

Small Abstract!