Monday, August 22, 2022

Dinosaur Vision

"Dinosaur eyes take in a wider field of view, bending in at the edges like a glass globe filled with water. Nothing is gray or drab or dull; rather they see swimming particles of color, a moving mosaic of dancing colored specks. As we would see a starscape in the night sky, they see a sparkling 'lifescape' in the woods by day, a world teeming with life.

"Some humans can see with dinosaur vision, Bix explained: artists, poets, and children. But for the rest of us, as we grow older, the mammalian part of the brain clouds over the older reptilian part, and drains away a little of the glory of the world."
From 'Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time,' 

1 comment:

K via Seattle said...

I've always felt I could "see" more colors than the average person, which is why I love painting. I can cram in all those colors that are apparent to me - I am sure many of you are the same way!

Sort of related but mostly unrelated question for the group here - is there any order, method or philosophy to wet-on-wet oil painting to get all those lovely colors to most optimally blend together? I have found remarkably little discussion about this.

I almost always tint the ground first with burnt sienna, block in my darks, midtones, and lights also with burnt sienna, but after that if I want all following layers to smear together, such that for example I can show a gray wall with yellow sunlight reflected on it, is there some "rule" such that I paint the light (yellow) first, so it can be incorporated with a layer of local color of the wall (gray)? Or do you find it better to paint the local color first and then dabble with it? And then what layer is ideal for adding in the shadows or darker areas?

I am not talking about the general rule of paint your darks (or midtones if that's your persuasion) first and the layer the rest on top, or at least I don't think I am. (I am not talking about scumbling either, or letting part of your underpainting show.) I am talking about if you do your paint mixing essentially on canvas (which I do not do totally, but I enjoy these effects). Getting the layer of color of reflected light to mix together with the shadow layer to mix together with the local color and if there is a rule of thumb for ordering these.

Mr. Gurney had a video about 3 years ago that got me first thinking about this (it was in gouache, painting the side of a house, I think his 25 Tips for Sketching Architecture, which actually I refer to often), but I think the best video that shows what I am talking about is here by artist Roos Schuring at timestamp 2:46-3:50:

Roos doesn't glaze or scumble the yellows in her sky over her blue sky and white clouds, she adds a heavy layer of yellow first and then adds a layer of blue and white over the top and mixes them such that the yellow faintly incorporates into her sky. My questions is why? Why in this order? Is this just laying your darks in first, even though the "dark" here is yellow sunlight and she incorporates the yellow into her following layers such that it is no longer the dark shade in the sky? Are there any general rules or considerations for layering wet-on-wet for sun and shadow effects? Perhaps whatever you perceive to be the undertone should come first?

If so, HOW do you keep your early, large, massed shapes clear if you use this method? If I am blocking in a wall that has a mid-tone gray as its local color, but I have to lay down light yellow sunlight first, what is the strategy for retaining in my head that that should ultimately be a middle value shape? Going back to the Roos video, her initial yellow layer is darker than the ultimate sky effect.

If this is convoluted I apologize, but I do hope someone out there knows what I'm talking about and can illuminate me on your strategies. If this is an area of study and I have just missed the scholarship on this due to lack of vocabulary or terminology, or if anyone has any resources or further reading on this, please fill me in! Thank you!