Today marks a milestone.
This is the 3000th post on GurneyJourney. I started the blog in July of 2007 and have been posting at least once a day since then. Thanks to all of you who make this blog a part of your routine, whether you're a new visitor or a regular. Stick around and tell your friends about it--there's plenty more to come. Now, onto the post.....
|Models painted by Trina Merry in front of the Guggenheim Museum and the Manhattan Bridge. AP Photo|
The models in these photos are practically nude, except for body paint. Public nudity is legal in New York if it's part of a performance art piece. To camouflage her models, body painter Trina Merry had to keep backing up to see if the details aligned with the background. You can watch a video of the work in progress here.
You'll notice that no matter how she's painted, the model is always darker than the sky, and that the photos are always taken in overcast light or in open shadow.
The light here seems to be a thin cloud layer covering most of the sky, and the model is lit by that overcast light. She's not casting a shadow, proof that she's not in direct sunlight. However the overcast isn't total: the window is reflecting a piece of blue sky. Regardless, the legs will be darker than the grass no matter what kind of paint you use on them.
Sorry, no nude here. A good rule of thumb is that in overcast conditions, a white local color facing upward will closely match the sky. Not many local colors are lighter than snow, and even bright white snow generally matches the tone of the cloudy sky.
Snow is significantly lighter or darker than an overcast sky only when the cloud layer is thin enough to permit some gradation of brightness in the direction of the sun.
Which leads to the following question: In direct sunlight illumination is there any paint white enough to offset the darkness of the shadow side? And is there a paint black enough to offset the effect of the direct sunny illumination? In other words, could you paint a ball—or a nude girl—in such a way that you could replace the gray-painted ball above, and make the ball—or the girl—disappear?
I don't think so, but I'll have to give it a try. I don't think Jeanette will let me try it on a nude girl, so I may have to settle for the ball.
If form, light, shadow, and paint interest you, you can read more about it in my book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter, available on Amazon— or signed from my webstore.
Thanks, Evelyn Brody