Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Only The Shadow Knows

Shadow is a color as light is, but less brilliant; light and shadow are only the relations of two tones. 
~Paul Cezanne

Not bold enough with my shadows!
I always understood the importance of light and shadow. My problem was that I just wasn't so great at capturing them accurately. I worked on shadow first. When I first started painting I was way to timid with my shadows. My art looked subsequently flat and kinda uninteresting, as though there was some essential element missing but I couldn't see it. Well, there was an essential element missing! Shadows are cast by anything three dimensional and I just wasn't being bold enough with my brush stroke.

I think a thing's placement in the Universe is shown by it's shadow and light gives that same object it's breath of life. By missing either element one loses an absolutely essential piece of the puzzle and the artwork looks flat and lifeless, it looks dead.

The above pink daisy was one of my first attempts at a more complicated painting and I loved how the actual drawing came out. Unfortunately, although the light on the underside of the petals is fairly good, the shadows just aren't bold enough so the piece looks kind of flat and lifeless, despite it's correct proportions. When looking at it there's just something 'off' about it. I see now that none of the petals throw a shadow on the background and the shadows that are there to define petals just aren't bold enough.

When, however, I get mad I seem to be much bolder with my shadowing. I had been working on this red rose and I just couldn't get it to look at all right. I got really spitting mad, frustrated at my inadequate painting skills. I started painting angrily which meant I certainly wasn't being soft and gentle. The bolder shadows made the rose come to life and this was the first really good piece I ever produced.

This week's APR is themed around "Shadow". I decided to explore what I've learned over the last two years and see if I've improved, lol. Since it's close to Halloween I chose candy as my subject,. Mmmm, did someone say candy?? So, here's my piece... (unfortunately, it didn't photograph very well, the shadows really ARE there, lol, the photo just doesn't show it much. The camera seems to have whitened both the background and the candy shadows. Grrr.)

Title: "Trick or Treat!"

Looking for APR? Click Here! Hoping all my East Coast friends are safe and dry with no damage. Wishing all of you a safe and candy laden Happy Halloween!
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  1. This is very interesting to me, Jenn, as I really haven't ever thought much about shadow. I DO, however, understand it far more and whether it photographed well or NOT, I really SEE and FEEL the shadow in your candy.

    I am guessing that as I delve deeper into photography, in particular digital fiddling, I will BEcome more acquainted with this concept.

    I appreciate the insights!!

  2. So true! I've been afraid of using shadow for contrast in a painting or drawing, but it makes them more dramatic and interesting and balanced. Good advice. Love your work, lady! :)

  3. I am finding it interesting that shadow freaks people out a bit... It is my favourite pat getting the shadows in... I love seeing the shapes and whites emerge as you lay down the shadows... very cool that you are jumping into shadow world...xx

  4. That rose is a perfect treat Jenn...your story is an absolute truth and your candies look so yummilicious!...love your post as always!

  5. Now I'm no artist as you know, but I understood perfectly what you were saying about the daisy being 'flat' and then the rose is so different. I wouldn't have 'seen' it were it not for your explanation so thank you for that, I have learnt my something today, (as in learn something new everyday), haha. Now I know I will be able to 'see' pictures in a different way, I may be able to create a little better - with lots of practice of course. The candy looks like I can pick it up, and I'm guessing that is also due to the shadows? Have a wonderful Wednesday :0) x

  6. I do see the shadows in your piece. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a photo of a work though.


  7. What a great post on shadows and light! I do see the shadows around your mints - the real deal must look very 3-d!

  8. I'm with Trace...I LOVE putting in the shadows 'cos they are great at bringing a piece to life and giving it a 3D look. I did quite a dramatic shadow for this week's challenge. As I'd had a migraine, it was the quickest sketch I could do for a daily challenge and, as it wasn't Halloween-themed, I went with a rather ominous-looking shadow instead. lol

    I love your artwork and I can see the shadow on your candy. Wonderful work!!

  9. Tail-end Charlie dashing in here which probably isn't a good idea but when I saw my photographs showing shadows, I immediately thought of this weeks challenge.
    Jenn, I never give shadows a though really and hence that's why my work looks flat and dead, but now with your explanation I'm really going to try to focus on them.
    I can see that they make a painting come alive!
    Thanks so much for showing me 'the light' ;D

    Your candy looks very real and so tasty too.

    Missed you and all of the gang but hopefully I'll catch up checking back through to make sure I don't miss anything ~ I know I'm a sticky beak as well as a tail-end Charlie! :D

    (p.s. email will follow promise) xoxo

  10. As Currie already said I also haven't ever thought much about shadow. But reading your words about "there was some essential element missing ... and ... "shadow and light gives that same object it's breath of life. By missing either element ... the artwork looks flat and lifeless, it looks dead." I started thinking about that and I suddenly compared it to my life and I came to the conclusion that the shadows in my past give breath to my life in the present and that my life would look flat, lifeless and ead without it's shadows. So I have to thank you very much for this thoughts!
    I also love your little sweet goodies!!! They give a lot of taste to life as well! And I also love the ducks you posted last week. Many thanks again for hosting this lovely place!

  11. very interesting about light and shadow, and agree that they really make a picture pop. Boldness is just as important as sensitivity

  12. I never used to use colour and always used B pencils, so shadows/shading were always a part of my pics. Your rose really pops, love it. Still can't stop looking at those yummy sweets. I can see the shadows, makes them even more enticing. Yum.


Please leave me a comment, I've sure missed hearing from you!


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