Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Heart of Darkness
If you click back and forth between the 2 pictures there's one small (but very crucial) difference - one of them has a core of gray in the deepest part of the pectoral shadow - the other doesn't. It's surprising to me how much difference that small difference makes - and it must reveal an important axiom of painting. Color actually drains away the power of a shadow for certain purposes. This is a form defining shadow - an accent to show that the form turns more sharply here, more deeply into darkness, and these accents really punch up the form where it needs it. ---- and color kills them. The shadow must be done with black, then you can fade it until it looks right, but it ends up being gray, not a darker color. Or if you want to get fancy, use the complementary color in hopes they'll balance out and create gray, but that's trickier.
This is all closely related to something I'm struggling to understand about color - how to effectively use blacks in a painting. Mine have tended to be all color with little to no black or white (or other grays), and while it can be very attractive - there's something vital missing.