Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chromatic Shadows, Part 1

The painting below shows a warrior standing on a ledge. He is lit by a slanting bar of light that shines from below.

Note that the cast shadow from his arm is red on the bottom and blue above.

The colored shadows suggest that the scene is lit by two adjacent spotlights, a red one below and a blue one above. This is typical of theater lighting, where two or more colored spotlights cast shadows with chromatic edges.

Tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at chromatic shadows.
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I painted the image for "Witches of Kregen," 1985, Daw Books. The painting will also appear in Color and Light.

11 comments:

Tom said...

As painters we often "discover" phenomema like this purely through observation without even knowing what it is we're painting. That thought leads me to ponder to what extent you realize - maybe years after rendering such a phenomenon - what the physical explanation is for the effect that you "knew" before you realized the physics behind it. More often than not, I'm guessing

Tristan Alexander said...

And if you look at pictures like thsi with 3D glasses they do weird things!!

Tom said...

Just to clarify my comment above: (It wasn't particularly well phrased.) It was meant as a question to James regarding his thoughts on the balance between knowing something like this phenomenon intellectually, and the knowledge that one gets from observation.

James Gurney said...

Tom, I see what you mean, and you are expressing a very interesting point. I think the intellectual understanding grows from observation for every painter.

Deducing the character of a light from a shadow is a great example of that process. Most every artist must figure this out for him- or herself because it's almost never taught in art schools--though photographers do learn a related knowledge base.

Then we have to consider the emotional or storytelling implications of the visual tools we use. No wonder learning to paint takes a lifetime!

lensverse said...

As a visual writer, I really appreciate striking images like these, where you can express so much in a single frame. I suppose those techniques yo mention are the tools painters and illustrators use to help you tell the visual story. Just stumbled upon your site and I'm really digging it!

James Gurney said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lensverse. I'm glad you're enjoying the content. The topic you've touched on--how pictures tell stories--is a subject that fascinates me too.

ALIVE said...

Thank you very much

I bought your books a few days ago
I'm waiting them now

I think the books make me better painter or illustrator :)

This post is also very useful to me :)

Studio at the Farm said...

I love reading your blog. No offense to "fine art", but I find good illustrators and graphic designers have a better handle on design, lighting effects, etc. Thank you for your information!

P.J. Magalhães said...

Thanks heaps for this Mr Gurney, mch appreciated. Cannot wait to put it into practice.

David Glenn said...

Who is that warrior supposed to be?

James Gurney said...

David, he's a character from a Daw paperback book called "Witches of Kregen."