Friday, April 15, 2011

Contrast and Light

One of my favorite things to do with my models is to sculpt them using light. Lighting and contrast are vital to my work as it gives my portraits a very strong appearance.

Good contrast with stark values not only help you during the painting process but also to make your work stick out from across the room. The same goes with lighting, a strong direction for the light source helps to make the contrast complete. If you leave one side out you will find your work lacking that dimensional quality that you are looking for as a realist. However, it is just as important to not leave out your middle tones either, each value is important and if you go too far with one it will be noticed.

I recall when I first started drawing that my drawing always appeared gray. The details were great, but who will ever notice that? All that time spent on details yet people will walk by as if your work was never there because to them it's just a gray drawing. So I moved to charcoal and that made a huge difference, the same can be said about my paintings. I changed my palette around, making a limited color choice and using Payne's Grey as my dark value. The result: "Kerry"

"Kerry" Watercolor on Paper, 13"x17", $225.00

My friend Kerry D. Hatton posed in this piece for me. At the time we were at a banquet for my wife - she restored the Milton Easley Painting at Bluefield College Library - and the lighting in the room was low. The way the light hit his face along with the structure of his face just added up and I had to turn that moment into a painting. Good thing I already had the camera with me!

So, I hope you enjoyed today's post. Always be on the lookout for special moments in life, you never know what will lead to your next best piece!

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