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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Do We Know About Shadows

If I tell you that in your painting your occlusion shadows are missing, would you know what I'm saying? 
We talk a lot about lights, but do we give enough attention to shadows?  I have a notion that if we know what to look for, we're most likely to see it.  Once we see it, we can decide how to use it in our work.  But if we don't see it, we won't consider it at all.  Consequently, our work might go lacking. 
Look at the images in this photo. 
The apple on the left works fine, but shadows are out of kilter in the one on the right.  Let's break it down into two crucial areas and show how the shadow parts missing can put it back together again 
  1. Form Shadow--All areas on a shape turning away from the light source.
  2. Cast Shadow--Any shadow caused by the light being blocked.
Notice how where the stem comes out of the apple the Form Shadow merges with the Cast Shadow cause by the opposite edge of the opening.

  1. Core Shadow--That part of a form shadow closest to where it begins to turn away from the light source.  The Core Shadow is caused by the reflective light within the Form Shadow.
  2. Occlusion Shadow--That tiny area where the shape touches a surface within which all light is shut out.
Here are our apples with all their shadows in the right places, feeling much better now. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What Does It Mean for an Artist to Practice

The famous Polish pianist and composer, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, is known for saying, "If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.”
We read about dancers spending hours working behind the scenes, we see baseball players doing their routines prior to a game, and we know musicians go through many hours honing their skills.  What do visual artists do out of sight to enhance their skills and creative expression?
Prowling through the notebooks of Leonardo, seeing Michelangelo's preliminary sketches, and reading Delacroix's journal give us insights into their behind the scenes work.  We discover that a lot of working out of ideas and germinating preceded every work they produced.
These were not done for us to admire centuries later.  Rather, they were the creative process in action, raw energetic explorations, discoveries and rehearsals for what was to come.  These were their behind the scenes workouts.
What are your workout routines?  Share with us on our Facebook Forum.  Most of mine happen in my sketchbook.  Here are a couple of excerpts along with the resulting painting.