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Exceptions and Contradictions...

Anything cool that I read has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Today my latest issue of The Artist's Magazine came in, and I started reading it since I got up early and had time. One of the shorter articles, on Subtleties of Light by Jane Jones, is excellent for describing how to use direct light and reflected light to make your paintings more realistic. Way cool. I picked up that concept in several other sources but I like reading about these things again and being reminded. There's also an excellent example photo of a white sphere taken in bright angled sunlight, which in some ways is a bit better than the usual drawing you can copy because as a photo, it's incontrovertible where the reflected light within the shadow falls when the light is at that angle.

Again, way cool, and if you want to do something like that from life, put an egg with the wide end facing you on a flat table (preferably white or light) with the window to your right or left and draw it exactly as it is getting all the values accurate in the shading. You can do something great with this exercise.

But one of the points the article made about shading was "Reflected light is always darker in value than direct light, but lighter than the shadow."

I looked around at my table full of supplies and still life objects to see something with a shadow and reflected light to test this by observation. My eyes fell on the leg of the African-American female manikin that Lisa used last night for a couple of her figures.

The great exception is "When an object is dark and glossy, the direct light highlight may be darker than the reflected light from a white surface." In this case, a blue-gray reflection on her glossy plastic leg is a full value stage lighter than the soft brown highlight where direct light falls on the front of her leg.

The main point is -- rules are good when making things up out of your head, but ignore them when reality contradicts them. You'll pick up the special case by observation. Draw what's there and not what a writer tells you is there.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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