Monday, June 25, 2012

Morning June 25th. plein air

June 25th 9x12 in.plein air from this morning at the Jardin in centro San Miguel de Allende

 We picked a great location this morning. Everyone was fairly close together but all facing different directions and all with very nice compositions and good results after several hours work.Donna tells me I've got to start placing my people earlier in the process. She's right of course. - teachers are so annoying.
I think this will be fun to work on tomorrow morning. The photo looks quite different. Part of that is because there is a wider gamut of contrast between the lights and darks in a digital photo. Even a print of a photo will generally have more contrast than an oil painting. You have to be careful when using a photo image for reference that this phenomena doesn't lead one astray. Squinting at the two pictures you will see that the bright cream wall of the Allende building across the way is brighter than that same part in the sketch. I could have made this slightly lighter by using more white but the yellow saturation would decrease and even if it didn't it could never attain the brightness of the actual, anyway. Of course, even a digital photo can't reproduce the true, actual gamut of reality. All an artist can do is closely imitate the sequence of values (contrast) in an attempt to get  all the elements into their proper positions relative to each other. In a high contrast picture like this one it demands getting your darks quite dark and your lights almost "washed out".

If all the above sounds like gobbledigook, try lifting these two pics and place them side by side. Squinting at the two at once might be very instructive.

"San Miguel Morning" 9x12 in. oil on panel
This is the completed painting. I've decided to post the finished ones on the same page as the "starts" - makes more sense I think. I'm pretty happy with the result of this one. The fact that I didn't totally lose the spirit of the original is always gratifying. You can see that contrast thing I was talking about - it's still apparent when you compare the finished product to the photo below. In the photo the cream wall is a lot lighter than the blue part of the sky, the blue sky is a lot lighter that the lit leaves of the tree.............. and so it goes. If your desire is to really handle light well, you have to begin to understand the phenomenon like a good photographer. I tend to harp on this stuff, first because it's exciting and second because, after all this blog is ALOTaboutLIGHT - Right?
Any comments or criticisms are always welcome.

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