7 lessons from an experiment on lighting

With this painting I set out to do an experiment in lighting, and it had been a while since I had painted, so I was eager to get into it.

As I worked through this I realized it was falling short of its potential due to some poor planning and sloppy execution. Fortunately, despite that, the mood came through and I did get a few good lessons:

1. I need to sort out a better way to handle foliage up close–the stuff on the right doesn’t look good to me and seems to throw off the perspective

2. I liked the grasses on the left in person, but they are very blocky here. I need to sort out a better way to handle that. Some concentrated studies are in order.

3. Some parts of the lighting work, but I was not deliberate enough with it, so it doesn’t feel consistent or well structured.

4. The path is too regular. I should have broken it up more. I guess this is still fixable, but I am not really inclined to do more on this.

5. There’s not a good focal point–perhaps it’s the light in the fence, but that’s not strong enough. Then again, I chose this for light and mood, not composition. Perhaps the mood comes through regardless.

6. I really need to do drawings before I paint to get a better understanding of the scene, even when I am working from a photo. Some things about structure and perspective just don’t feel right to me here, perhaps because I took the photo too literally. Had I drawn first I could have edited better.

7. A lot of my paintings recently have been focused on things, not scenes. They didn’t have depth. I want to work more with perspective and space. I think I need to get into this with a pen or a pencil more first. 

Having written these 7 points, I am thinking of trying to sort some of this out by doing some pencil studies of the same scene to work out these kinks. More to come there.

Thanks for reading.


One thought on “7 lessons from an experiment on lighting

  1. Hal Aber November 26, 2015 / 12:08 am

    Just saw this. I couldn’t sleep so I got up. From your comments you may want todo a Notan first to establish the values. Let’t talk over gobble goble.

    Sent from my iPad


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