Monday, 28 January 2013

Aquarelle - Tuesdays 2-4.30 pm with Marina Kulik

Painting the light
Where is the light in this picture??
Last week the aquarellistas got together and worked on a theme: 'light'. What is light in a painting... Simply said, it it the lightest possible colour. It works like that also in actual life, and it is relative. If you are outside in the dark, the stars or the moon or the streetlanterns are the lightest - but often that 'light' is pretty blue (or orange or grey) compared to 'white'...
Same goes for your painting in aquarelle: the lightest colour is the coulour of your paper - in other words the spots that you don't paint...
To illustrate all this, I brought a picture of John Singer Sargent's masterpiece "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose". The lanterns in this painting are really shining - although they are not white... 
The reason why they appear to be lights, is that they are the lightest in the painting: the 'white' of the dresses and the flowers is darker than the lanterns. And suggestion helps a lot too: the contrast (bluish versus orange) and the warm orange reflection on the faces, the hands, the dresses and the hair of the girls makes your brain believe that there is actual light... all in all, it works...

In this black and white version, you can see (you see it even better when you squint) that the lightest colour is indeed in the lanterns.

We did an exercise, trying to achieve this effect, some using the original painting as their guide, some choosing another subject. And here are the first results:

This version works well because of the contrast blue/orange and the dress is a fraction darker than the light!

Good job here! The lantern really stands out in the dark background...
An interesting combination of three versions
In the next version of this poetic painting the background will be darker!
And that will definitely make the painting stronger, I agree :)

Same for this one - it is a lovely image with all these flowers !
yet the lantern doesn't really shine...
here's one of the reasons why:
And then there were some other images with light in them:

 Work in progress by Liz... what a beautiful transparency!

Reaching out - an interesting watercolour with lots of extras by starter Wendy
Sandra accidentally dripped a brushh full of Payne's grey in her light source (on another painting).
While contemplating if she would just tear it up or try to repair, she created this little beauty!

And talking about beauty - work in progress by Cathie - despite the fact that there's a lot of white still-of the paper itself, the lantern already shines...
All in all it was a worthwhile exercise and we will proceed with it in the next session...

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