Thursday, January 2, 2020

How to Paint a Light Effect

In this video (Link to YouTube), I paint a snow-covered farm road using a limited palette of casein tube colors.

I use four methods to achieve the unusual light effect:
1. Mixing the paint on a gray palette surface. 
2. Priming the surface with a glowing “effect area.” 
3. Building up to a bright accent. 
4. Creating a flare or glow effect with pastel. 



  1. I was surprise that as I looked at this picture, specifically the focal point of the puddle reflection--my eyes actually squinted as if looking at bright light! I know it is not bright, but my mind and eyes reacted as if it were. Thanks, fantastic work.

  2. This is in reference to Stephen and Nyree's comment that the focal point actually made his eye's squint as if looking at bright light. I did the same and was wondering if we'd have the same experience looking at the actual painting.

    Since we can only see the artwork on a computer or TV screen, the light emitted by the screen creates a real hot spot where the screen would be at its "whitest" or "brightest". The actual painting can only be seen with reflected light off the paper so perhaps the effect would not be exactly the same.

    Regardless, it's a fantastic effect which James has utilized before and it's always extremely effective!

  3. Thanks, Stephen and Nyree, Martha, and Pierre. That little hotspot is in reality a little higher in value than the highlights on the snow. It's also the glow around it and the slightly warmer tones that make it look bright and I guess trick our eyes.


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