Tag Archives: beginning art

Painting of a lotus by Lynnette Horn

Following the Light

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood. I haven’t been able to get out much, with all the Easter brunch preparations, but the windows are open, the sun is shining and a lovely breeze is flowing through the house.  I’m sitting here, watching the light dance across the carpet in rhythm with the curtains as them billow in the breeze.

It got me thinking about light in terms of art. In my painting it seems I am always following the light.  Of course, the brightest light and the darkest shadows will be the main interest in any painting. This is the money spot where I want my audience to linger. It’s call the point of focus and can be within a larger focus area. But, I don’t want my viewer to only see the point of focus, or why would I bother painting the rest of the canvas. I can use the path of the light to lead the viewer’s eye around the painting.

Besides a direct main light source, another light to take into consideration is ambient light. It bounces off of everything, creating light even in the shadows. That’s why shadows are not totally black. Think of a cloudy day when the sun is blocked by the clouds. There is still like but it isn’t coming directly from the sun, but bouncing off the clouds. Then there is reflective light.  This can seem confusing to the novice artist. Picture an apple on a counter and the sun shining in from the window on it. Light bounces off its shadow , creating a reflective light on the apple. The light appears on the shadowed side. How cool is that?

If I’m painting a realistic apple I need to give it a reflective light on it’s darker side, or it won’t look real. As you practice with your artist’s eye, follow the light and see where it takes you. Take a look at my painting above. Where is the light coming from? Do you see any reflective light? What about ambient light? Let me know if you found this blog helpful or if you have any suggestions for future blogs.