LIGHT ON COLOR

Emotional Landscapes

When I paint landscapes I consider light, color, and atmosphere. What happens in the distance? This way of seeing is painting from front to back.  The strength of color and value in the foreground is stronger than the things in the background. This is called atmospheric perspective. French painter Claude Lorraine was famous for his use of atmospheric perspective and Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Mona Lisa relies on this to create the depth in his painting. I do use this in my landscape paintings but I go for a bigger light and reflections when painting landscapes and water. Unlike the traditional idea that only the light has color in it, I use color in the darks as well. Placing a cool blue in the light and contrasting it against an alizarin crimson in the shadows, for instance, can be very effective for creating a brilliant effect from light to dark. As long as the painting is consistent using this idea throughout, the painting it will work.

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