Monday, June 11, 2012

Dockside Scene

Here's a little oil study of a dockside scene painted along the Hudson River. 


The light was blindingly bright, with the sun reflecting in dancing spots on the foreground water. The sun's glare burned a color corona into the darks of the hull of the sloop.

I enjoy painting toward the light, or contre jour, because it often gives a greater sense of brilliance than any other lighting direction. And because you're sorting out wild extremes of illumination, you can capture effects that would elude the range of the camera's sensors.

8 comments:

Katherine Thomas said...

Ooh! This is awesome! The reflections on the water, bouncing back onto the hulls of the boats... wow!

Key said...

The way the water is rendered is delightful, there is a real sense of movement.

Kimberly M Zamlich said...

This is just a beautiful little gem..I aspire to do such treasures...

Tomas Honz said...

Yeah, I too like to paint towards light. Colors seem so much stronger that way. Nice work James.

Tom Hart said...

I feel like I'm being thick on the issue of the color corona - or maybe my nautical terms aren't up to snuff. But I'm having a hard time identifying the areas you refer to as corona. What I think of as the hull is on the side away from the sun. But I thought color corona was an effect of strong direct light influencing the color of an object. Can you straighten me out on what I'm misunderstanding? (Great study,as always!)

Amuna Laima said...

When painting facing directly towards the sun, how do you avoid being blinded by it? I always find that every time i attempt it im squinting and colors on canvas and real life look a lot different and its hard to tell if the relationships are right.
How do you solve this mystery?

Lee Jerrett said...

This is just stunning :3

James Gurney said...

Thanks, everybody. Tom, it's a good question, it's hardly a noticeable effect. What I mean by color corona is the halation or flare that lightens a dark area adjacent to a really bright source, such as the bright light reflecting off the water beyond the boat. I tried to paint the edge of the boat a little lighter as it approached those bright areas. Perhaps I should have called it by the other term "light spill" that I used in a recent post.

Amuma, that's a real problem, and these bright reflections were nearly at the pain threshold. Looking directly toward a setting sun could damage a person's eyes, so you have to be careful. I don't know if there really is a solution, other than to pick days that are hazy enough to cut way down on the intensity of the sun, or to wear welding googles or something.

Thanks, everyone else for your kind words.