JUNE 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Creative Art

Landscape Painting – PART Ii



Shadow Effects

One of the most crucial aspects for getting a landscape painting to look authentic or realistic is to have the direction of the light consistent across all the elements in a painting. Actually, this 'rule' applies to any subject you're painting. When you're still at composition stage, you need to decide which direction the light is going to come from as this influences the shadows, contrasts, and colors.

There are five options:

1. Side or Low Lighting
2. Back Lighting
3. Top Lighting
4. Front Lighting
5. Diffused or Overcast Lighting

It's well worthwhile playing around with an angle-poise lamp (if possible, use a daylight bulb) and a simple still-life setup to really get to grasp with light direction and shadows.

Move the lamp to the side, back, front, and into an elevated position. Put a sheet of paper over it to diffuse the light. Sketch the various scenes, taking particular note of where the shadows fall and where the highlights are. Look at the colors and how the different directions of light influence this and the appearance of the objects.

This knowledge will enable you to apply a light source consistently and effectively when painting (and it's still relevant even if you're painting from your imagination). It also helps interpret what you're looking at when you're painting a landscape and to be aware of how the light changes.

Note: The options are described here with application to a landscape painting, but apply equally to any subject.

Transparent Water drops
Transparent water drops are appealing things to paint. With a bit of practice and careful planning, you'll find they're not as impossible to paint as you might have thought.

The first thing to get decide is which direction the light is coming from in your painting as this will determine where the highlights and shadows in the drops will be.

Then apply the following 'rules':

There'll be a shadow underneath and to the opposite side of the light direction (in this illustration the light is coming from the right, so the shadow is underneath and to the left). Or just underneath if the light source is directly above.
There'll be a highlight on the top; not in the center but towards the side the light is coming from (right in this illustration). This is the light source reflected in the water drop.
There is a shadow at the top of the water drop (this may not seem logical, but it's caused by the refraction of light through the droplet from the shaded surface below).
There is a highlight at the bottom of the water drop (again this may not seem logical, but it's also caused by the refraction of the light through the drop, this time from the light source).

What Color Are Water Drops?
Water drops aren't the 'color of water;' rather being transparent, they're the color of whatever surface they're lying on. So if the leaf it's lying on is green, then the water looks green.

The highlight on the top of the drop will be white. The shadows are darker tones of the green. The refracted light at the bottom of the drop is a lighter tone of green. If the drop were on a red leaf, then the water drop would be in tones of red. The three drops above show this clearly.

Tips for painting water drops:
If you're working in watercolor, use masking fluid to preserve the highlight (reflected light in the drop) rather than trying to paint around it.
Until you're confident about your drops, sketch a drop first in pencil on a piece of paper before you paint it; if you've got the highlights and shadows correct, it'll look realistic.

Look for more details on landscape in the next issue and till then practice your shadow effect and water drops.

Remember: When it’s from HEART, it’s ART

Shyama Rangwala can be reached at (813) 843-6784, e-mail shyama_vn@hotmail.com or visit www.shyamshyama.com or check Shyama’s Art on Facebook.

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