Friday, October 22, 2021

October 23, 2021 What Looks Tricky?

Whenever you come face to face with a new subject it helps to ask yourself "What looks tricky?" Then you can design a study that reveals a simple solution to the puzzles that remain unanswered. In the night scene, below, for example, you may find yourself  entangled in the direct presentation of the streetlights. If so, it would be a good idea to experiment until you find a sequence of layers that approximate the brightness of the lamps and the impact they have on their surroundings. 

I see half a dozen bright streetlights we are looking at directly, and as many buildings that are lit indirectly by the lamps. Some of the buildings are darker than the sky and some are lighter. Just to complicate things, some of the buildings are both lighter and darker than the sky. By comparing things to a single shape , the sky, in this case, we gain a basis for understanding how dark the other shapes are.

The lamps are obviously lighter than the buildings. They have soft edges, and a ring of pale color that radiates out from a white center. One of those glowing rings is cool, the others are all very warm. These  sources of light might be a good feature to practice. Would it work to make the edges hard? It would certainly make it easier when the sky closes in on the halo of color. Try it and see. You wouldn't need to paint the whole scene to find out, just a scrap of paper would show you the answer.

Then what? What if you look at the buildings on each side as single shapes rather than as a collection of numerous entities? Think of the overall composition as a big bow tie made up of 4 triangles; the sky is a triangle. The street is another, and the groups of buildings are the other two. 

When you have experimented enough to put all your pieces together use this image, or one of the other night scenes from Oaxaca for your homework. If you don't see the bow tie send me an e-mail.

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