Sunday, January 10, 2016

Neon Window Light

The red neon sign in the left window says "OPEN." 

If I were to paint the tubes of the neon sign with bright red paint, it would be too dark in value. So I keep the sign very light in value and paint the effect of the red light on the regions around it. Note how the red light floods the window frame and the back of the guy's head. 

When a light source is both high in value and strong in chroma, one strategy to capture it is to focus on the effect of the light, not on the light itself.

I'm using an ultra-limited palette of gouache: brilliant purple, flame red, raw umber, and white in a Pentalic watercolor sketchbook

Yes, I've been known to accidentally dip my brush in the coffee. 
Earlier discussion on the blog in the post "Practical Lights"


Dottie Best said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

Great information, something I'll be able to immediately apply in a current project. And thanks for anticipating the obvious question -- reminds me of the wonderful series Christoph Niemann did, painted entirely with coffee. Also, should we be giving Someone a shout out for your striking knit wear?

gyrusdentus said...

Hi James.
Concerning brightness and intensity. Do you feel that certain subjects like skin require more mateness so that you take out the shine from acrylic or oils with some approved methods?
Or would you say that any medium (except watercolor) can be used to picture any topic?

SusanT said...

James, when you use gouache, are you using it freshly squeezed from the tube, or has it been dried in your palette and reactivated? TIA

Tyler J said...

Ever do a piece entirely in coffee?

Rick Majors said...

Coffee is a warm tone. Dip away!

James Gurney said...

Steve, yes, that's a Cashmere ribbed beanie (very soft) and a zippered vest with two-tone slip stitch pattern handcrafted from pure natural wool by Jeanette.

Gyrus, I don't want to give you rules. Just try it and play around with various materials.

Susan (TIA?) The paint is from the tube. I don't use gouache after it's dried out because I can't get it to activate to the right consistency.

Tyler and Rick, not yet, but that sounds fun (maybe espresso?)

Mary Aslin said...


Bobby La said...

Great knitting Jeanette! I like the vest stitch. (Robyne, not Ross)

Berit said...

This is wonderful! :D I really love the emphasis showing the effect of the neon, rather than the source, creates.

Rick Majors said...

Maybe try painting totally with found materials from nature. No paints. Jusr various soils and plant materials.