I’ll be honest. My brain is fried. After learning about Kelvin measurements, light temperatures and principles of inversions between lights and shadows and temperatures… well, yeah. Let me say it again. My brain is fried.
Sometimes landscape painting seems simple enough, but when it is simple, it’s because I don’t know what I’m doing. Remember Degas and his claim that “painting is easy when you don’t know how, and very difficult when you do”…?
The more I learn, the more challenging painting becomes. There are more things to think about, more guidelines to follow, more essential art principles to keep in mind. After so much mental study yesterday, I decided the best way to get a good grasp on the principles of light temperature and color temperature and the effects of lights and shadows would be to pull out a canvas panel and do a quick study.
Here is what I ended up with:
My sunset sky definitely needs a bit of blending! Mostly what I was doing with this piece was alternating temperatures between lights and shadows. I stayed with a warm cadmium yellow and raw umber for areas in the light, then worked with a cool black for shadows. The light in the sky included both cadmium yellow light and cadmium yellow medium, with touches of a cool gray — tinged with pthalo blue — surrounding the light.
I fiddled with it maybe more than it needed, but I am starting to understanding how the principle of “warm light/cool shadow” does work to not only add depth and dimension to the painting but also to suggest mood and atmosphere. I can sense a little “atmosphere” in this painting because of the light, and I can understand that the light wouldn’t work without the cooler shadows.
So, for me, even though it’s been rough on the old brain, this represents a lesson learned. Not one mastered yet, but I think I’m getting a good understanding of the principles involved. This new understanding will definitely help me move forward in my landscape paintings.