Monday, August 26, 2019

How to Paint Shiny Reflective Surfaces

How do you paint the colored surface of a shiny new car? 

I find you have to be simultaneously aware of the lighting, local color, and specularity.

I'll be doing a demo and fielding your questions on a YouTube video premiering this Wednesday, August 28. Link to video on YouTube.


Bob said...


Page 75 of your book Imaginative Realism shows the hood of a red compact car in the painting's lower right corner. Your rendering of its shiny surface was the first element I noticed in the picture, and evidently I haven't forgotten it years later. Even the far right edge where there's no obvious pattern, still conveys the reflective surface with photographic precision.

David Apatoff said...

I used to regard this question-- how to paint the shiny reflective surface of a car hood-- as a largely technical one. Then I spent some time with artists such as Bernie Fuchs, Mark English and Bob Heindel, who all came through the Detroit car painting art studios. They spoke of car painting in poetic terms with a kind of reverence that opened my eyes. They talked about "the chrome guys" who specialized in painting chrome and were brought in to touch up details in the inadequate car paintings that Bernie and others had done. They talked about the kinds of things (such as clouds) that various car painters preferred to paint in the reflections. They talked about the abstractions, about what a particular car painter could accomplish with payne's gray, and about how the clients distinguished between a highly realistic technician and a genuine artist. It was a revelation to me to hear these artists speak with such high regard about a category of painting that I had previously glossed over.

Bells said...

That helped me alot, I have real problems to do reflections on glass and other materials... I Guess now I just have to trained more, and practice your tips. TY! You're the best! Kisses and Hugs from BRAZIL! :)

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