Thursday, November 22, 2012

Light and Contrast

Taking private painting lessons would be a complete waste of money if I didn't apply the things I learn in each following painting.  In seven lessons, I have really only accomplished one painting to completion, but I have taken several pieces that I have completed independently to have them evaluated.  As I have blogged on previous occasions, my instructor, Lily Adamzcyk gives a brutally honest critique of each work.  Techniques have been analyzed such as how to paint specific elements like grass, water and never use white to brighten.  Probably the most important lesson I have tried to implement is that of light and contrast.  For a painting to have depth and interest you must have both. 

Keeping that in mind I began working on this large piece that was inspired by a fall hike that I took with my son and daughter-in-law near Reno.  The colors were just beginning to change and the birch trees nearly glowed in contrast to all of the darker pines.  The bright morning sunlight filtered across the trail whenever the foliage gave opportunity. 

Because of their prominence in the composition, you would first think that my main focus here is the grouping of the three birch trees near the trail but in actuality, it is the sunlight that is really the star here. I have attempted to show the trail and grass highlighted by the sunlight in a number of locations.  It is almost as if you have walked out of the darkness and into the light as the trail absorbs the energy and warmth of the morning rays.  This energy continues as the trail briefly disappears only to return brighter as you are prompted to continue up the mountain.

At my next lesson, I am sure that there are refining details that Lily will use to help me improve this piece but I think that she will immediately know that I have been listening.

24 x 36 Oil- "Morning Sunlight"

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