By now you have probably all heard about the Plein Air Convention in Red Rock Canyon. It was truly, an inspiring event, and I cannot say enough great about it. The days were absolutely packed with guest demonstrations, presentations, lectures, and painting. If you have a chance, try to go next year. You won't regret it.
Dawn Whitelaw and I went out a few days early and painted for the sheer joy of painting. What a treat. Here is a quick study. Much to improve on here, but you get the feel of the place anyway.
|Red Rock study 1, 11x14, plein air|
See how the light and shadow pattern on the background hillside are almost one value? They are recognized as distinct light and shadow for three reasons. One is how relatively warm or cool the passage is; the second is how chromatic one is over the other; and the third is the use of edge.
Try this the next time you want to describe light and shadow in the distance. Mix two piles of paint, one to represent your shadow areas and one to represent the lighted areas. Make the two piles within 1/4 step of each other in terms of value. Be sure that one of the piles is relatively cooler than the other. (I say relatively because no color can be labeled in a vacuum. It must relate to the other colors set around it.) Make one of the piles slightly more neutral than the other. Lay down the two distinct areas of paint without regard for details within the shapes... just flat pieces. Experiment with how close or far apart you can push the values and it still read as light and shadow. How close or far apart can you push the warm and cool, the chroma and neutrality? Take pictures and view them in gray to see how you did.