Tuesday, February 26, 2008

“Spring Light Meadow”


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From my studio in Mt. Shasta, winter is retreating and the spring air is melting the snow on our side of the mountain. The Grand View Ranch is awakening with artistic subjects galore. Water, from the snow melting, seems to be flowing from everywhere creating creeks and waterfalls in places where there weren’t any in the fall. The radiating and enveloping light now illuminates the landscape. The fresh clear atmosphere transforms our everyday world into a lively and beautiful place. I feel the omnipresent light saturating everything, bringing it all into unity. Now I understand the true meaning of “tonality.”

Light seems to be an entity apart from color and form; yet it is the creator of both. Light creates the color of an object because each object possesses qualities that absorb some rays and reflect others. The ratio of absorption and reflection determines the color of an object. In light, a complete spectrum of color is present. This means there is red, yellow, and blue color in every light source. This is what we see.

In a painting, we do not create light; we attempt to create the illusion or impression of light by using values and temperature. It is the contrast of values (the range of white to black) and the use of warm and cool colors (blue, violet, and green) that give an effect of light. As painters, we never use white for a highlight straight out of a tube because white is a cool color and needs to be tinted with a little red, yellow, and blue. White paint is used to lighten a value. If a highlight is a reflection of light from a light source, and light contains all spectrums of color, (red, yellow, and blue), it makes sense that a highlight would have all three colors present to make up the effect of light.

Try this on your next winter painting to highlight the snow; combine Titanium white with just a dash of Cadmium orange, Lemon yellow, and Cobalt blue. Use gray violet and gray blue shade in the shadows. I used this recipe when I created “Spring Light Meadow.”

I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.
I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues.
If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime.
I welcome your feedback. Stefan_Baumann@yahoo.com

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