I started work on the next ‘Daisy’ painting in my imagined series almost immediately after finishing the previous one entitled, ‘Birthday Flowers’. This time exploring the potential of pink on green. I’ve also been experimenting with achieving different lighting effects within each composition through colour and texture. Using strong complementary colour contrasts such as hot pink against a pale green background, or bright yellow/orange against dark blue, creates a very effective illusion of depth in a painting. With the sunflowers and the asters I wanted to create the illusion that they had been backlit. The orange calendulas pretty much created their own light by virtue of their stark contrast against the very dark background. Creating lighting illusions in two dimensions is fascinating stuff, especially when you add texture into the mix – I suppose then, it’s not really two dimensional anymore, is it?
Oil paint is an interesting beast, especially when applied thickly onto a surface. Changing the texture changes the way that ambient light interacts with the painted surface, and so a painting can look remarkably different depending on the time of day and the type of light source, as I will now demonstrate – click on the galleries below:
I took a picture of my pink asters late last night under lamplight and then another picture this morning under the diffused daylight from my studio window. Which is the truer painting?
It’s a dilemma I face, especially when I’ve been working on more detailed paintings where
I’m trying to create exact colours on the canvas. My Venetian Fruit Cart painting is one such piece that I can only work on during the day if I hope to get my colours right – I just don’t have adequate overhead lighting in my studio to do this kind of detailed work in the evenings, nor the eyesight! I can only imagine how the old Masters must have felt when working by candlelight, which I’m sure a number of them did from time to time – as a painter, you are likely to achieve an altogether different kind of painting depending on your lighting arrangements! I suppose if it works in all kinds of light, then you know you’ve done a good job, right?
Of course, because I’ve been painting a lot lately my dreams tend to be full of painting ideas. Last night I was walking around a gallery of student’s work and spotted a couple of paintings that looked ever so familiar. Ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while already, but took full form and colour in my dream. It was kinda cool. So, now that I have these versions firmly imprinted in my mind, I might as well try to paint at least one of them. It’s actually an idea based on a pencil drawing I did as a young child which took pride of place on the school display board for a week – the school never did give it back to me. I’ve been wondering the past few days if I could reproduce it in colour and I suppose my dreaming brain ran with it. I refuse to call it my ‘Subconscious’, in fact, don’t even get me started on that one!
Anyway, as ever watch this space!
Enjoy the rest of your week, All!