In painting class we are working on spheres. After almost three years of classes I am still struggling with basic things like the shadow side of a sphere-shaped object, so it’s nice that Jennifer came up with some exercises to try and break it down even further. First we created a 9-value grayscale range between black and white, and painted an idealized sphere using those values. The 4th value down from white was the base for the light side of the sphere and the 7th value down from white was the base for the dark side. (And became the reflected light bouncing up into the dark side.) The 8th value was the darkest part of the shadow side. It really helped me to think of it that way.
Then we did the same exercise over again, but with a color. At around the 5th value-depending on how dark a color it is–it’s straight out of the tube. Lightened with white on one side, darkened with black on the other.
The following week, we graduated to painting a ball. The difference between painting an idealized sphere and a real ball is a big jump in difficulty for me. Some of the nice neat theoreticals go out the window, because you have to deal with what you see. There was a warm light shining on the ball, and it was lying on a dark surface. The shadow seemed a bit greenish, and also where the ball rested on the dark surface, the color of the ball seemed to concentrate in orange-y warmth. I had a hard time settling on one particular scale of colors to use and ended up thinking that it might have been good to mix up two scales, at least for the shadow side–one warm and one cool.
At home I decided to paint a sphere-ish real object to practice these concepts and see if my brain was starting to catch on. I’ve been saving a tomato with a cool stem for this painting study (the concept of saving a tomato boggles my mind–that tomato has sat for a good ten days or two weeks back in my painting room and is still firm and nice.)
I am very happy with it. I know I have a long way to go but I felt like I was seeing and conquering some challenges with this that would have eluded me in the past.
Next: the egg
And another egg: