View Full Version : Rocks!

08-29-2013, 11:51 PM
I'm trying to figure out front-lit subjects so I've been deliberately looking for things to paint early and late in the day, with my back to the sun. Lot's to learn!

Thanks for looking...

9 x 12 pastel on Uart 500 paper

08-30-2013, 02:44 AM
But those are the very best times of day to paint from a different angle to the sun! I am afraid you are losing the benefit of the warms and cools of sunlight and shadow by painting with the sun directly behind you. Any old cloudy day will give you even lighting, but if you are blessed with early or late sunlight, use it, and the shadows it produces, to give drama and depth to your paintings.

That said, you have done a splendid job on the composition of the boulders, shrubs and sky. I might bring in some soft blue-violets to the shadows anyway; I feel as if I see a couple sneaking around in there, but my eyes would like to find some more. And that gorgeous aqua sky could be bouncing off those rocks as pale blue-green highlights.

Nice work . . . but your next trip out into that great light, try a different angle. I will look forward to seeing what you learn from it!

Sarah Rose
08-30-2013, 09:57 AM
Is there a reason to paint without the shadows? I love rocks and how you painted both them and the sagebrush. I struggle with sagebrush, but want to paint them better. Your colors are perfect!

08-30-2013, 10:16 AM
I have always admired those who can paint rocks effectively. And you painted these rocks beautifully!

08-30-2013, 10:44 AM
Thanks, Deb.

Yes. I know that light well. "The magic hour". But sometimes when I'm out walking around I'll find a totally front-lit scene that is so saturated with color that it makes my eyes water. Some artists can capture that in a gorgeous way. Look at this from Kim Lordier:


Nice, eh? It's almost a black art being able to pull this off. I'm not there on this one but I'm going to keep trying....

08-30-2013, 10:48 AM
Is there a reason to paint without the shadows?

Thanks, Sarah. Well, there should still be some shadows. Just smaller and more concentrated. I think I'm a little short on contrast so I'll be re-working this a bit. I'm still feeling my way around this one....

08-30-2013, 10:48 AM
Thanks, Ron!

09-02-2013, 01:53 PM
Very cool subject. I would like to try some rock images so I can use the sides of my chalks:) My feeling is that a gradation to darker/cooler tones/hues at the bottom would ground it and send the eye upward. Also, the crevice between the sides holding the sagebrush has an opportunity to go in deeper. I could see highlighting on the tops of the sage. Even the most flattened appearing images have subtle variations that the eye can discover and create depth. Your works are always masterful and show your expertise and freedom with the medium. Thanks for sharing your works. J

09-02-2013, 04:35 PM
this is interesting ;
the value(s) of the crevices are one indication of depth ,
and the size/closer colour of the rocks is another , so ,
the viewer has to make decisions about this painting - personal appeal ...

colour is clean , fresh , and subtle . :thumbsup:


09-03-2013, 01:04 AM
Thanks, John, Ed. This was definitely an experiment. I still haven't decided what worked and what didn't work. I'll play around with it in a few days and see what happens.... :)

09-03-2013, 10:57 PM
Hi Randy,

Great design on this piece!! I haven't been here in quite awhile, and thank you for showing my painting as a piece of inspiration for you.

Like you, I love that feeling of sun drenched light on stone or whatever subject matter when the sun is directly behind you! I was inspired by a painting by Jason Situ, many years ago that I saw at the San Luis Obispo plein air event, where all the values in the painting were the same, with the exception of some very strategic shadows that implied that very feeling and quality to the light. It was truly exquisite.... I have yet to accomplish anything close.... but I still keep trying.

I'm happy to share anything with you if you have any questions, or want to share your thoughts on the experience.



Donna T
09-04-2013, 08:09 AM
I think it's great that you are studying this kind of light and learning how best to use it, Randy. Nice rocks! I wonder if this kind of front-lighting is best for featuring subtle differences in colors (like rocks) that might otherwise be overlooked in more dramatic lighting conditions? Or maybe it's the design of the evenly lit rock formations that provide the interest. I'll be watching and learning from you!

09-04-2013, 10:11 AM
Hi Randy, not only do I like the light in this, but I especially like the structure of the rock formation. Beautifully rendered.


09-05-2013, 12:20 PM
Hi Randy,

I haven't been here in quite awhile, and thank you for showing my painting as a piece of inspiration for you.

I'm happy to share anything with you if you have any questions, or want to share your thoughts on the experience.

Hi Kim. It's great to see you here again. Thanks for taking the time to post and offer your help.

I'm still on the steep side of the learning curve so many things about painting are still a mystery to me. But the front-lit approach really messes with my head. So, I'll keep at it.

Thanks again for your encouragement. Oh, and the inspiration!

09-05-2013, 12:23 PM
Thanks, Donna. Much to learn...

Thanks, Derek. Much appreciated, as always.

09-05-2013, 11:23 PM
Hi Randy,

I went looking online for that Situ painting, couldn't find it, but did find this painting by Jason Situ...


A lot of the elements that attract me to front lit paintings are here... what I find most important is that usually the darks, or shadows, are very few, but very strategic. You can see this in T. Allen Lawson's painting...


Hope you don't mind me sharing these paintings with you.