Friday, January 15, 2010

Foliage in light and some kittens

Here's that same tree again. I will try to post some kittens too, just to enliven things, but this tree has the qualities I need for this series and it is patient. I wrote for a few days on sky holes and now I want to move on to the parts of the foliage which are in the light. They are clearly defined in the picture above. Do you remember our illuminated sphere from long ago in the blog? Here is a link to that, if you have not seen it, here it is.
Some one asked in the posts about the tree as ball lesson, I guess we are getting as close to that now as we will.
This is important,


There's another variation on the rule I explained in the bedbug line post I linked to above. If you obey that rule you will have the effect of light on the tree, if not you will have the effect of soil on the tree. Below is a picture of a tree in flat light. The lights are not clearly brighter than the shadows so, no light. I know you hate rules, perhaps we could call it a principle.

Ideally the light and darks on a tree should be two big shapes with one predominating. In other words an equal amount of light and shade will make your painting static and dull. OK, here are the nice kittens I promised.

Izzy and Toast


StipeArt said...

Thanks Stape for the excellent teaching blog. I hope there will be a book from it someday. Those look like very snuggly, warm kittens.

billspaintingmn said...

I have to agree with StipeArt!
Very helpful Stape.
If you do the book, have a signing,
I haven't stood in line for a concert for some time, this would give me that fix!
Those are some cool cats >"< said...

OK -I like principles. They are really really helpful to get this tree thing started. I also like ideal situations.
But I have a question here because I need clarification (not because I am being a smart a--, this time).

You write:
"Ideally the light and darks on a tree should be two big shapes with one predominating. In other words an equal amount of light and shade will make your painting static and dull."
I noticed that the Constable painting used as an illustrative point on Jan.14 has one tree and a grouping of trees, which to my eye the lights and darks are equal. It's beautiful tree painting here.
So is Constable ignoring the ideal? Or am I interpreting the dark/light thing incorrectly when assessing this Constable piece?
Help! said...

PS. Izzy and Toast together here resemble a yin and yang symbol. If I painted pets, I'd want to paint this kitty curl up.

willek said...

That second cloudy day tree picture. While there is no shadow, it seems there are areas of light and areas of less light. The areas of less light seem not to be cooler or warmer in these circumstances. Can you comment on this?

Philip Koch said...

After reading mariandioguardi's comment I went back and looked again at the Constable painting she mentions.

To my eye, it looks like individual trees have more of their area in shadow than in the light (in other words, they follow Stapleton's "rule"). What then makes the issue confusing is Constable places other highlighted trees in front of the larger shadow areas in the taller trees. You don't get an uninterrupted view of the large trees so it's hard to see their exact proportion of shadow area v.s. lighted area.

Whatever the truth of this particular painting, I like very much the notion that it is a bad idea to have a tree be 50/50 with anything, whether one is talking about shadow versus highlight or warm versus cool.

Also Constable shows us that most important of all is keeping an overall eye on the movement of lights and darks throughout the whole composition. This IS complicated stuff- no wonder it takes years and years to master it.

Philip Koch said...

What is the cats' position on the best proportions of light versus shadow on trees?

orbisplanis said...

I learned in a watercolor class that you should paint the sky hole(s) a very slight shade darker than the sky color in your painting to make the tree/hole/sky look realistic. This goes for acrylic, too. Is this correct? Any additional info?

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, they are good cats.I really enjoy having them about.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill: The book is coming, but I am not sure when.I still need to write a lot more material from which to assemble it.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think Philip gives a great answer to that. I might add that is an ideal that illustrates the principle. It holds true in most paintings not just trees.

Stapleton Kearns said...

There is very little difference between the temperature or values on a dark gray day like this.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks for that, great answer.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The cats are noncommittal on that but prefer a sunny windowsill.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Which syllable of that is accented?
I have written on that here

There is a good illustration of the effect there also.