Friday, August 29, 2008

Shadow notes

Concerning landscapes:

1. Over half of all shadows are made from the sky color which is usually ultramarine blue, alizarin and yellow ochre in various proportions.

2. "For me, shadows are filled with light and air. I try to make the paint quality transparent in shadow areas to convey their airyness. In addition, the temperature of shadow areas is the opposite of the light source. If the light is cool, the shadows are warm, and vice versa." Donna Cusano


1.Looking at any subject, you find two different types of shadows, cast shadows and form shadows. Once you begin to see the different types of shadows you will be able to take your painting further and make it more believable and interesting.

A cast shadow is what we think of when we sing the tune “Me and my shadow.” It the kind of shadow that is created when some object blocks the light source. For example, think of any object and then think of the shadow it would make if that object was sitting on a table or on the ground. The shadow you see is called a cast shadow. Same thing with shadows created by a flower blocking the light from another flower or a hat sitting on someone’s head. Even a nose can create a cast shadow. Casts shadows are the darker type of shadow because most of the light is being blocked out. Still there is color and a shadow isn’t a solid object… it is just a dark shape falling on a lighter surface, so some of that surface color has to show thru. Using transparent colors to create your shadows is a good idea but remember to make your shadows have sharp edges at the very base where the shadow meets the object but as the shadow leaves the object make the edges less sharp, less defined, softer and lighter.

A form shadow is the shadow that is actually found ON the object. Again it’s a shadow that is not in direct light. Mastering shadow form will help you turn an object making it have volume—three-dimensional. Form shadows are mostly soft having less defined edges and much lighter than it’s partner cast shadow.

Then there is the matter of reflected light, which I think of as a reverse shadow… lol, I thought I’d confuse you with that one.

Again, these are just notes cleaned up a bit. Hope I haven’t gotten anything confused.

2. Shadow color is determined by the light source and what the shadow is laying on top of. If you were painting a shadow on green grass and then that same shadow continued on to a pavement, the shadow would change color because the color of what the shadow is laying on top of would be different.

3. Reflected light is the light that jumps back onto the object from the light source hitting the ground, table, cheek other objects, as examples. Because it hits the ground, table, cheek or other object it will have some of that color in it but will be much lighter.