Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chiaroscuro, Connections and Lost Edges

I worked on this today, a lovely quiet day at the studio. One of the things I wanted to do with this piece was to create more of a chiarascuro effect. To me chiaroscuro is more the extreme end of the Light and Shadow approach to composition and painting. Hopefully you'll see the difference between this version and the last.

This is a real nuance, but in Light/Shadow or chiaroscuro the painting is about the light on the objects....not the objects themselves. In my earlier version it was a nicely rendered pot but the lighting was pretty mild. In this version I have darkened the shadows quite a bit. I've also darkened the berries that fall behind the ones in front. I'm also starting to add darks to the leaves.

"Connecting" the darks is an important concept in Light/Shadow or chiaroscuro. In my limited Photoshop capabilities I've shown how you can follow the darks across the painting making it easy for the viewer to move from left to right, just like reading a book. In a perfect world I would have created a lovely abstract shape with my dark structures before I started painting, but sometimes I don't spend enough time doing that. Here is a blog post about how you would create that kind of's done in colored pencil but you get the idea.

I have two pics here, one of the painting modified in Photoshop with a line running through the darks and I have circled three places where the edges are "lost" which will also help the viewer move through the still life. Edges are like gateways, you can stop the viewer with a hard edge or move the viewer through the painting with a "lost" edge.

I still want to develop the leaves a bit more....but then I'll probably be done.

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