Friday, January 11, 2019

Controlling Light and Depth in Landscape

What makes me want to paint this scene is the way the light and atmosphere work together to create depth. Here's what I'm thinking as I paint it.

Farm in Harlem Valley, oil, 12 x 16
The cloudy sky has a low ceiling. The tops of some of the hills are lost in fog. Also the far horizon is enveloped by the low clouds, so the warm colors in the farthest fields are greyed down before they disappear.

The fields are illuminated in the lower left foreground. Then as you go back across the perspective of the plowed field, you travel through the shadow area and back into the light again.

The principal area of illumination is not on the farm buildings, but a little beyond them. The light is coming through a breach in the clouds with very subtle rays. 

Concealing both the source of light and the effect area adds to a sense of mystery. One way to make a striking light effect is to downplay and conceal most of the scene to set up for the accent area.  
For more on light and atmosphere in painting, check out my book Color and Light can be found on Amazon or signed at my website.


Timothy Bollenbaugh said...

James, this is a profound demonstration of what an accent can do as you mentioned. When I was a student "light to dark" was my understanding until I learned about this. But yours is a clear demonstration, in a painting of already high quality even had the accent not been there.

Unknown said...

Beautiful ❤

Daroo said...

Along with the light, a great contrast of edges too!