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overcast
03-22-2010, 05:16 PM
If anyone could give me advice or direct me to a good thread/website that gives an in depth analysis of color choice in shadows, it would be greatly appreciated! I searched for a while and havent seen very many helpful websites. For example..Im interested in the intensity of colors in shadows, the use of black in shadows, what colors to use (for example, if you have a red object and a yellow light to the left of it, what color will the shadow be?), how to paint shadows edges etc..
Ive always thought of it as the opposite of strong light..for strong light I always thought you just included more white a bit of the light color..no?

Im pretty new to painting so any advice is welcome!

Einion
03-23-2010, 05:32 PM
Hi, thanks for your question. There are many prior threads here in Colour Theory with discussion on colour in shadows, in addition to searching the main part of the forum (be sure to look for both the English and American spellings of colour as well as the word shadow/shadows) the Hall Of Fame (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=372) has one or two threads that you'll find helpful.

For example..Im interested in the intensity of colors in shadows, the use of black in shadows, what colors to use (for example, if you have a red object and a yellow light to the left of it, what color will the shadow be?), how to paint shadows edges etc..
This part of your query covers a lot of ground - both the visual aspect of what's seen as well as the means to achieve those colours in paint. Which nearly amounts to 'how do you paint?' query! :)

The best teacher here is careful study of exactly the type of subjects you're interested in, rather than looking for rules (or 'rules') on shadows, which you can find in painting guides, although many are just generic guides that you have to build on with observation of individual situations or setups. Sometimes a rule of thumb on colouration that can often be relied upon isn't seen in a specific setting, because of elements outside of the image - blue sky or no blue sky, reflected light from nearby grass or another strongly-coloured surface versus from a white or concrete wall etc. etc.

I addition to working from life, which is extremely valuable, I actually strongly recommend working from digital images and photos.

This is primarily because you can study the colouration of all parts of the image for as long as you like, without any fear the light will change because the sun goes behind a cloud, drops lower in the sky etc.
And in addition to this you can use Photoshop or something similar to examine the colour anywhere on the image and see what colour it is, rather than what colour it might appear to be - we see many illusory colours* when we look at things, with shadows (being lower in chroma) often being strongly influenced in our eyes/brain by the surrounding colours in the visual field.

Photos, even high-end ones, are usually far from perfect in terms of colour overall but you can still learn a lot from looking at the colour relationships in them; just be sure to use real-life observation to supplement photographic references so you don't get into 'photo colour' habits.

As far as using black goes - not just for painting shadows - it's easy to find views that are diametrically opposed on this amongst painters, from "black kills all colours" all the way to recommendations that amount to using small amounts of it nearly everywhere within a painting. I would discount anything you read that says that black is the death knell of colour unless you're looking to paint in a style where very vivid colour is all there is.

*More on visual illusions here (http://www.purveslab.net/seeforyourself/) on Purves Labs. Bet you didn't know you'd be looking at the Craik-O'Brien-Cornsweet Effect when you woke up this morning :D

Ive always thought of it as the opposite of strong light..for strong light I always thought you just included more white a bit of the light color..no?
Not sure what you mean by this bit.

Einion

gunzorro
03-25-2010, 11:25 AM
Overcast -- "Ive always thought of it as the opposite of strong light..for strong light I always thought you just included more white a bit of the light color..no?"

This based on a common misconception, or possibly an exaggeration of natural lighting, as well as the tricks that can be played on the human eyeball.

Generally, for outdoor scenes and subjects, the most dramatic lighting takes place in the early morning and late afternoon, with glancing light emphasizing the light/shadow effects. The sunlight is in the yellowish to yellow-red range, casting its bright light on the subject. The shadows are lit by the blue sky and any adjacent brightly lit objects (taking on those "local" colors). Often this dramatic difference in color, yellow on one side, blue on the other, gives the impression that all shadows are the opposite color of the main lighting color. As an artist, you need to watch out for this trick, because it is only partially true, and only under certain outdoor conditions. Many artists exaggerate this even further and come up with theories that outdoor shadows are violet -- which is extremely uncommon in reality. ;)

Einion has given great advice -- take a lot of photos of your subject under different lighting and study them closely to determine the color balance in the shadows. Most daytime lighting will cause the shadows to be influenced by the sky (blue, broken clouds, or white) and the closest bright reflections in the surroundings.

Steve Orin
03-25-2010, 05:49 PM
"I would discount anything you read that says that black is the death knell of colour unless you're looking to paint in a style where very vivid colour is all there is." I try to not be a PIA but this sentence makes me want to get in trouble... It really does. I may come back in here, may not. My soul yearns to help the "kid" but it's so tired of such statements & the arguments they cause.

gunzorro
03-25-2010, 07:11 PM
Steve -- Einion has an accurate assessment there. You should consider the color theory and science behind it.

Rebelling against technical knowledge, without a tested/verified replacement method, is really trying to satisfy the spoiled kid in each of us.

Black (and greys and white) can add a great deal of richness to a subject, unless you are intent on painting like Matisse. ;)

oddman99
03-26-2010, 07:39 AM
We do see violet shadows, Gunzorro not withstanding. We see them in snow scenes where the yellowish sunlit snow surround causes a violet tinge to the shadow lit only by skylight. The theory explaining this is commonly known as "simultaneous contrast," whereby we perceive the complementary colour or contrast of the surround within the contianed shadow area. The Impressionists daringly portrayed this in their time to the ridicule of the art critics, only to be vindicated by the science of Chevreul and others, as well as much earlier observations of Goethe. Monet and Pissarro were two in particular who showed this.

Granted this phenomenon is something of a trick betweeen the eye and the brain, but it is how we see. To show it when it is there is what painting light in the landscape is about.

Steve Orin
03-26-2010, 09:13 AM
Gunz, a Q for you: Does 4 +decades of experience give me some right to have my own thoughts? How about customers like Disney? How about the fact that my customer base is planet wide? Or must I bow to wrongfull ideas simply cuz an accepted person spouts it?
Black DOES kill color. Period. That doesn't mean it has no place. It does bring up the Qs re if a newbie to color is best served learning pure color use first & then allowing contamination, once he can feel the differences. Oh, and nobody has ever said my colors were overly intense... I use no black unless the job's nature requires. And I revel in developing shadows that have magic buried within them rather than just adding black to the ambient colors.

Einion
03-26-2010, 12:37 PM
Well like I said in the paragraph that quote is from, "it's easy to find views that are diametrically opposed on [the use of black] amongst painters" ;)


Steve -- Einion has an accurate assessment there. You should consider the color theory and science behind it.
No need to bring theory into it. It's actually hard to prove theoretically; very simple to point to practically though :)


We do see violet shadows, Gunzorro not withstanding.
But as you say it's a trick of the eye (an illusory colour like I referred to) which is not quite the same as if the shadows were actually violet. And like many such things it can be replicated without actually painting violet, instead relying on the same simultaneous contrast illusion within the painting.

That's not to say that someone can't, or shouldn't, paint anything of this sort the colour it appears to be to them, but that's a different matter; many artists choose to exaggerate colour differences a little or a lot, as they like and often to wonderful effect. Others strive to replicate the colours as closely as possible to what's in front of them.


Black DOES kill color. Period.
There's no period there - black killing colour is your opinion Steve, and should be stated as such.

There are many painters whose colour couldn't at all be described as 'dead' or 'lifeless' or whatever who use black extensively. That's all the evidence that's needed that any statements about black supposedly killing all colour stone dead just doesn't hold water; it is the misuse of black (generally overuse obviously) that generally results in the horrible colour that anti-black campaigners tend to think of.

Einion

Einion
03-26-2010, 01:02 PM
Here are a few quick things I think anyone interested should spend a few moments on.

Firstly mix a small amount of black into maybe Cadmium Red Medium or Cobalt Blue, no more than about 5%. The colour changes, sure, that goes without saying. But how much and in what way(s)?*

Second one, choose two paints of roughly the same value and then mix a little grey (white, black, a touch of umber to bring it to neutral) to that value. Now mix the grey with the other colours. The more you add the duller the colour will become of course but with modest additions it's just slightly duller**.

There are other ways of achieving the exact same colours as are achieved by any of the above blends - e.g. directly mixing for it if the palette allows, use of complementary mixing of some kind - but that's just it, you get the same colours. Often in painting it doesn't matter how you got there (although some methods are easier than others) it just matters that you did.

*In both case it will go darker of course and a little duller, but by no means as dull as one might be led to believe.

**Slightly duller versions of many tube paints can hardly be described as dead... think of the difference between Cad Red Light and Indian Red for example, which are around the same hue, just very different in chroma.

Einion

P.S. Now, if you're dedicated, mix something as close to black as you can with your palette and try the above two things with that mixture instead of a pigment black and compare the results.

Einion
03-27-2010, 05:50 AM
I was going to split off discussion on the use of black to another thread but decided not to as it was specifically asked about by overcast. However I'd prefer if the thread didn't get bogged down on that point only, so please try to also touch on other portions of the opening post since it's a relatively minor part of a much more wide-ranging query.

Here are some older threads from this forum that are worth perusing to see the various avenues of discussion in previous debates about black/no black:
Is Using Black a serious no-no?? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=338213)
The bias against black (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=441214)
mixing BLACK (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=465742)
What if the local color IS black? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=485658)
making black (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=558402)

As I say, these are just from Colour Theory; I remember a few others in other forums and I'm sure there must be more given how the subject polarises people!

And a recent thread which mentions a few possible routes to mix near-blacks and blacks for anyone who wants to compare such a mix to a pigment black:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=611668

Einion

oddman99
03-27-2010, 10:18 AM
Einion, I have some reservations about your reply in Post #8 where you say, "But as you say it's a trick of the eye (an illusory colour like I referred to) which is not quite the same as if the shadows were actually violet. And like many such things it can be replicated without actually painting violet, instead relying on the same simultaneous contrast(SC) illusion within the painting."

Granted the effect of SC is illusory, but, whether you like it or not, for a painter, certainly one in the Impressionist style, the shadow is as violet as a sky be blue (another illusion?) or a leaf be green. It is what we see, no matter how we see it!

Contrary to what you said, you cannot replicate the violet that Pissarro and Monet showed by any other means other than to apply that colour to the shadow. Such is the nature of their art. Admittedly, you can demonstrate a violet sensation due to SC on canvas without the use of violet, and perhaps thereby enhance the impression of violet in the shadows of a snowscape but this is not what I think Overcast's concern was.

Overcast's post referred to the analysis of colour in shadows (or, what colouring could be in the shadows). Gunzarro's reply to this was quite correct but not complete. He dealt with local colour and the effect on it by the prevailing illumination. He did not consider SC. One of the great lessons of Impressionism for artists relates to that effect on one's vision of the shadows in the motif. They, it seems, saw it as merely visual sensation and left it for the scientists to explain it for what it was. But, their vision was acute, the violet is there and needs to be painted as such for a proper Impressionistic or Realist rendition.

Incidentally, the painters' rule of thumb - warm light cool shadows and vice versa - stems from the SC phenomenon. However, sometimes, due to extenuating circumstances the rule may not hold.

Nilesh
03-27-2010, 05:46 PM
If anyone could give me advice or direct me to a good thread/website that gives an in depth analysis of color choice in shadows, it would be greatly appreciated! I searched for a while and havent seen very many helpful websites. For example..Im interested in the intensity of colors in shadows, the use of black in shadows, what colors to use (for example, if you have a red object and a yellow light to the left of it, what color will the shadow be?), how to paint shadows edges etc..
Ive always thought of it as the opposite of strong light..for strong light I always thought you just included more white a bit of the light color..no?

Im pretty new to painting so any advice is welcome!
Susan Sarback might be of interest to you. There are shallow critics who haven't studied with her, haven't understood or experienced her sorts of unusual and direct perceptions, and basically haven't scratched the surface of what she is doing. If you just read what she has to say, and never sink your teeth into it more deeply and thoroughly, you will probably also miss out on the new perceptions to which she is pointing. If you take her exercises to heart, though, and actually go out and explore her way of looking in some depth (with the state of mind she indicates along with it), things can open up in surprising ways.

After meeting her and trying these exercises, I was astonished to find that she actually meant what she said. Then I read through some testimonials and letters from other students of hers, and discovered that some of them had the same very striking experiences.

I could go on, but it is better to switch you over to her. She has a lot of experience teaching, and can get through to a substantial percentage of those who study with her.

Even on a strictly theoretical level, there is much to learn from her (though it would be a great shame to leave it there: by far the most alive aspect is the rejuvenated experiential perception). Her most recent book is reasonably priced, and is available at amazon.com,

http://www.amazon.com/Capturing-Radiant-Light-Color-Pastels/dp/1581809999/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269725766&sr=8-1

There are some reviews there as well. But I would caution against getting too caught up in the words and theories and experiences of others who have studied with her, and encourage you to take a fresh, open-minded, directly experiential approach to what she is saying — it becomes a completely different ball game, and a vastly more interesting one.

There is additional information here: http://www.lightandcolor.com/

She is a very intelligent, sincere, and articulate person, and has delved into color in ways you haven't yet imagined, including shadows, shadow edges, and shadow colors specifically.

...

The SC theory is only part of the story. Often people seem to get caught up in some limited theory or theories, explanations, or points of view, and make them into something larger and more comprehensive than they are.

As a leading physicist and philosopher of science put it, Whatever the theory, the reality is always more and always different.

gunzorro
03-27-2010, 06:12 PM
Nilesh -- I dont' know -- from looking at the examples on her website, Susan's work is extremely exaggerated and unreal in it colors. Far too chromatic to be considered mainstream realist or representational. I don't think that her approach would be my recommendation for how to paint shadows.

Of course people are free to interpret reality -- no rules there. And that is exactly what Impressionism is, an interpretation of reality, but not an accurate rendering -- it gives an impression of what has been observed and is, at its best, a lyrical vision of the artist. I consider it somewhere between realist and abstract genres.

oddman99
03-27-2010, 06:35 PM
Nilesh, you've got me curious, what is the other part of the story? Here, I am talking about sunlit snow surrounding a shadowed area lit by blue sky, only, and no reflected light. I also refer to my own observations and not neccessarily those which we see in the work of the Impressionists. The shadows in this situation have some violet in withthe blue.

I am not married to SC, however, I understand it as the explanation of a sensory phenomenon whereby we all see something that isn't there, the violet. But, since we all do see it, it is actually there, at least in terms of our visual perception and its portrayal in graphical art.

If something else, other than SC is at play, then I would like to know what it is. If I believe it, then, I, too, will embrace it. My main concern, here, is that Overcast is informed of an effect, SC (and anything else), that may add colour shadows.

Nilesh
03-27-2010, 06:45 PM
Nilesh -- I dont' know -- from looking at the examples on her website.... A lot of people have that reaction. It is a shame, because they close off. They make a judgment, form an image of her and her art and teaching, and their minds do not remain open.

She is very serious.

I agree that a lot of it looks that way; but there is SO much more to her and what she is saying and doing.

I don't think that her approach would be my recommendation for how to paint shadows.
Not all her shadows are the same; there is quite a bit of variation. And with her there is an element of renewed perception (I don't know what else to call it) that is a central key to what she is doing.

If you can find that testimonial in which the woman is writing about her experience, after studying with Sarback, of trying to clean a mysterious blue spot on her kitchen sink or countertop, scrubbing with cleanser, and then finally realizing that it was about this new seeing that had been opened up in her, you might get a taste for what she is dealing with or pointing to or opening up for her students (or at least those who can listen and aren't too full of prejudgments).

I had it happen to me. It's really astonishing and vivid what happens if you actually tune into what she is saying and then actually practice or experiment or explore (just reading it doesn't cut it; it doesn't work...).

Of course people are free to interpret reality -- no rules there. And that is exactly what Impressionism is, an interpretation of reality, but not an accurate rendering -- it gives an impression of what has been observed and is, at its best, a lyrical vision of the artist. I consider it somewhere between realist and abstract genres.
We are already interpreting it. That's what the vast majority of people fail to realize. Or even if they 'realize' it verbally, it isn't realized in their daily experiences and perceptions.

As one philosopher of perception put it, The past is always giving meaning to the present, so the actual present loses its meaning entirely.

Or: the actual newness of the present gets overshadowed by conditioned 'perceptions' which are actually coming from the past (from the accumulated memories, words, images, judgments, conclusions, conditionings).

Sarback is dealing with exactly this issue, but in a directly experiential way rather than a solely philosophical-theoretical way. I've talked with her about exactly this, including the statement in blue above, and she understands it in a much more immediate and real way than a mere theoretician. She's hands-on — on the level of direct perception — with exactly these issues.

It's easy to reach a hasty conclusion about her (= forming an image), but it misses so much.... There is much more to her and what she is doing.

Also, her work does not come across well on computer screens. Even in the books, it doesn't look the same. It's a lot better in person.

Her work seems to suffer more than most when the colors are changed or distorted.

Nilesh
03-27-2010, 07:30 PM
Nilesh, you've got me curious, what is the other part of the story? Here, I am talking about sunlit snow surrounding a shadowed area lit by blue sky, only, and no reflected light. I also refer to my own observations and not neccessarily those which we see in the work of the Impressionists. The shadows in this situation have some violet in withthe blue.

I am not married to SC, however, I understand it as the explanation of a sensory phenomenon whereby we all see something that isn't there, the violet. But, since we all do see it, it is actually there, at least in terms of our visual perception and its portrayal in graphical art.

If something else, other than SC is at play, then I would like to know what it is. If I believe it, then, I, too, will embrace it. My main concern, here, is that Overcast is informed of an effect, SC (and anything else), that may add colour shadows.
There may be other effects at work here, is all.

We live in an age of over-explanation, and of exaggerated faith in explanations. Nothing has really been explained completely, even though many things are taken as completely explained.

One example: extremely bright physicists have spent entire lifetimes of serious study trying to get at the fundamental nature of matter. Most of us were given the mechanistic (and now superseded) Newtonian explanations in school. A few of us touched on other theories, including quantum physics. If you go down to a small enough level, matter becomes wildly fantastic in its behavior and characteristics.

Most people see this as theoretical study in physics labs. But it is actually with us every moment of every day of our lives. Our brains are made of this stuff.

No one really understands consciousness. Without it there is no perception.

There are so many fundamental questions we haven't even asked, much less answered.

I've noticed visual phenomena that seemed somewhat bizarre. Then I checked with some researchers and eye experts at Stanford Medical School, and found out that I was simply observing some things that most people don't notice, or don't have the time or circumstances to notice.

One example: there are small, somewhat luminous, whitish, somewhat spherical shapes that you can see floating around in the sky (and elsewhere) if you are attentive. They look a bit like floating dandelion seedheads. What they are (at least this is one way of looking at them) is blood cells moving inside the eye, near the retina.

Another: you can notice pulsations of light, especially in some situations. One explanation is that these are related to the ebb and flow of blood pressure changes.

Another: in India it is more commonly recognized that the 'standard' senses can be extended much more flexibly than usually thought, and usually developed. Western science and psychology don't even have the conceptual tools to deal with a lot of this.

By studying the philosophy and history of science in some detail, and with some care, it begins to dawn that science is very much a work in progress, and still very incomplete, even in its basic tools and concepts and assumptions.

I've seen some incredibly luminous, iridescent, living blue colors in shadows, as a result of experimenting with Sarback's approaches. SC-thinking is just not very complete, it seems to me.

I've also read the journals of a very sensitive naturalist, who never met Sarback, and predated her, in which he describes these same astonishingly new and alive colors in shadows, sometimes moving and shimmering. If the complementary colors are not in the picture, the SC theories fail to cover these perceptions.

Basically, there is a WHOLE lot more going on than any of these theories tend to bring into account. The reality is not only more and different; it is mind-blowingly more and different.

gunzorro
03-28-2010, 01:27 AM
Nilesh -- I don't want to rain too much on your parade, but I don't see the need for so much philosophy and religion in painting. It seems more "nuts and bolts" to me -- something in the world looks a certain way, then find paints that are close and use good drawing technique. Pretty simple.

I can understand wanting to exaggerate, but when it is coupled with poor color choice, techique, and drawing, then it fails in its message.

In my experience, strong pieces of any genre translate well even when degraded in poor reproduction methods. I'm sure pretty well all work looks better in person, but if it isn't convincing in reproduction, chances are it is lacking in person too.

So far, I've yet to come across bright yellow-green colored snow with blue shadows! ;)

sidbledsoe
03-28-2010, 08:34 AM
So far, I've yet to come across bright yellow-green colored snow with blue shadows! ;)

You are lucky, I have, I didn't eat it :lol:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2010/112587-43597shadows_on_snow.jpg

gunzorro
03-28-2010, 11:36 AM
Sid -- That's not green snow! :)

This is:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2010/39008-_fs.jpg

Seems to be coloring just for the sake of coloring. Garish.

sidbledsoe
03-28-2010, 03:00 PM
Wow, and no moose tracks anywhere, :lol:
(sorry Einion, I will stop now:o )

Doug Nykoe
03-28-2010, 03:30 PM
Nilesh- It sure is fun interpreting reality in our own unique way and it’s called having and or using an artistic license to do whatever we want to do. We see reality all day long and cameras do a reasonable job of covering that but art should be more than that. Sounds like you have a good teacher.

Here is a bit about Bonnard- Bonnard’s painting process links multiple layers of memory to the accumulation of paint, weaving almost knitted surfaces or, as he put it, “a painting is a series of marks that join together…” Working from loose sketches and watercolors, he painted largely from memory, concerned that the painting be distinctively separate from the initial, often distracting, experience of reality. As a result, many canvases evince well-worked surfaces from his protracted efforts to color his recollections and feelings about a scene.

They exist within the realms of a reality that we can understand…he’s using his imagination. And he’s trying to paint things that he’s remembered or things that he can see in his head. And I think if you think about what things look like when you try to remember them, they don’t look like photographs. They don’t look like reality.”

If you see a hint of violet in the snow or if your senses want more than do so but you still have to deal with harmony or the means to successfully complete a painting. But the good news is it will become obvious in time what you need to do because it is organic and entirely from you and thus becomes alive and who else knows your own checks and balances than you yourself.



~

oddman99
03-29-2010, 11:37 AM
Nilesh, thanks for your response. Everything you say, when applied to art in general, is valid, at least to me. But, the effects you are referring to are idiosyncratic rather than normal. I presume that overcast is concerned with colouration in shadows on a more fundamental level. As such, what Gunzarro explained together with my elaboration on SC appears to cover the subject.

Sidbledsoe posts a photo showing violet tinges in the snow shadows. Of course the camera cannot replicate SC, this is a process that occurs in the brain. However, there may be some SC at play as we view his photo that brings out the violet. I fear, but am not sure, that a good deal of the violet in the photo may be from film or digital cell colour balance. Nonetheless, his photo evokes what I actually see in the shadows of similar
snow scenes.

As an aside to Gunzorro, I saw your WIP on another thread (it is now your Avatar). Great painting! It makes superb use or SC.

Einion
03-29-2010, 05:04 PM
Nilesh -- I dont' know -- from looking at the examples on her website, Susan's work is extremely exaggerated and unreal in it colors. Far too chromatic to be considered mainstream realist or representational.
I quite agree.

...I don't see the need for so much philosophy and religion in painting. It seems more "nuts and bolts" to me -- something in the world looks a certain way, then find paints that are close and use good drawing technique.
Agreed, if one wants to paint the way I know you mean.

In my experience, strong pieces of any genre translate well even when degraded in poor reproduction methods. I'm sure pretty well all work looks better in person, but if it isn't convincing in reproduction, chances are it is lacking in person too.
Generally speaking I think this is very true. Here, I doubt you're missing anything of key significance that would call into question a basic determination about the nature of the work - painting of this kind is what it is, quite evidently.


A lot of people have that reaction. It is a shame, because they close off. They make a judgment, form an image of her and her art and teaching, and their minds do not remain open.
I don't think it's fair to say that if someone doesn't care for her work, or merely makes the observation that it's not conventionally realist, that they have closed their mind.

We all 'judge' work all the time, simply because of innate or learned preferences. Whether we like stuff that's more formally Realist or prefer something more Impressionistic is just a preference, but as for which is which I think it's important to note that people don't even need to be artists or have any artistic leanings or training to be able to tell apart paintings that are firmly in each camp. And regardless of which they might like more as art, they will usually be able to point to which is realistic (in the usual understanding of the word).

...now all that aside, as far as realism goes Ms. Sarback stated herself that she's not a realistic painter so I think that sums it up nicely.


Granted the effect of SC is illusory, but, whether you like it or not, for a painter, certainly one in the Impressionist style, the shadow is as violet as a sky be blue (another illusion?) or a leaf be green. It is what we see, no matter how we see it!
Yes, they can be equally important to some painters. But they are really very different.

The common advice to "paint what you see" is fine up to a point but it can be taken too literally, and when that happens it can lead to certain common colour issues (commonly: exaggerations) that are obvious. Paintings of the type we can loosely call Impressionist are very identifiable for having a certain type of colouration and while the work can be lovely, it is what the name suggests: impressionist. It's not strictly realistic (in the common way the word is used) and it's certainly not Realist painting, obviously.

Incidentally, the painters' rule of thumb - warm light cool shadows and vice versa - stems from the SC phenomenon. However, sometimes, due to extenuating circumstances the rule may not hold.
Sometimes? :D Worth having a look at previous threads for more on this topic; it's been explored here in some depth.

Sidbledsoe posts a photo showing violet tinges in the snow shadows.
I think you'd find it useful to examine the photo in image-editing software, look at the colour in certain key areas.

Of course the camera cannot replicate SC, this is a process that occurs in the brain.
It is indeed an eye/brain thing. But about the camera not being able to replicate it, I think you just showed that this isn't true :)

I fear, but am not sure, that a good deal of the violet in the photo may be from film or digital cell colour balance. Nonetheless, his photo evokes what I actually see in the shadows of similar snow scenes.
We can actually ignore that - if we take the photo as the reference, ignoring whether it's entirely accurate to the original scene (we can just take it as a given that it won't be), then we can more easily focus on the more interesting aspect of it which is about what we see/think we see, in relation to what's actually in front of us.

I'm not sure which portions of the shadows/halftones you think look violet (no parts of it look that way to me) but some of the areas I think you might be referring to are near-greys, some of which are actually orange in hue.

Einion

Nilesh
03-29-2010, 06:33 PM
Thank you all for the responses.

Nilesh
03-29-2010, 06:44 PM
Sid -- That's not green snow! :)

This is:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2010/39008-_fs.jpg

Seems to be coloring just for the sake of coloring. Garish.

Tell me that isn't Sarback. Please. If it is, I will find try to find some excuses for her.

One person's garish is another person's something else.

Consider this, which I at first found garish, even offensively garish:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Or...artmouth_b.JPG

(This can be seen as a commentary on conditioning, including conditioned perceptions.)

And this, which brought about a similar reaction:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Or...artmouth_a.JPG

(He is pointing to the future here.)

Many a mother accompanying her tender young offspring off to college has complained about these murals, which cover the walls in a large basement study room on the ground floor of a university library. [Jackson Pollock, incidentally, was inspired by these same murals to become an artist. Not that I am a Pollock fan (or opponent) — it's just an interesting digression.]

Some of these mothers have actually gone to library staff and administration, and suggested that these murals be covered by curtains, so their offspring would not be afflicted with having to look at them.

To make a long story short, I have become very fond of some of these Orozco panels. They are among the most meaningful and interesting art I have encountered.

Which brings us back to......

***
Yes, Sarback.

Actually, she IS seeing these colors. Yes, she does exaggerate sometimes. But it would be a fallacy and a shame to conclude from that that it is all exaggeration. You can actually see some of these colors if you do her exercises. I asked her about the halation in some of her paintings, and asked if she was just putting it in there, for effect, or if she was actually seeing it.

She was seeing it.

Monet saw it, and put it in some of his paintings.

Sarback is VERY much attuned to Monet. She learned a lot from him, and from watching him paint (in actual film footage).

Monet did similar things to what she is doing, and actually saw these sorts of phenomena.

He wasn't just making it up; it was more along the lines of explorations of alternative and purified ways of seeing, without the standardized ideas and habits of perception. Sarback is stripping away the habits and repetitions that have dulled and clouded people's ways of seeing color and light.

Nilesh
03-29-2010, 06:45 PM
That snow picture is growing on me. The original is probably better. It is amazing how differently you can see colors, especially when scanning in the ways Sarback suggests. I have had similar perceptions of snow. Not quite like this, and these shimmering colors are less numerous in my experience (perhaps not in hers though), but there is a real similarity, and the picture brings back some of those states of mind, and the perceptions that go with them.

Nilesh
03-29-2010, 06:55 PM
Nilesh, thanks for your response. Everything you say, when applied to art in general, is valid, at least to me. But, the effects you are referring to are idiosyncratic rather than normal. I presume that overcast is concerned with colouration in shadows on a more fundamental level. As such, what Gunzarro explained together with my elaboration on SC appears to cover the subject.

Sidbledsoe posts a photo showing violet tinges in the snow shadows. Of course the camera cannot replicate SC, this is a process that occurs in the brain. However, there may be some SC at play as we view his photo that brings out the violet. I fear, but am not sure, that a good deal of the violet in the photo may be from film or digital cell colour balance. Nonetheless, his photo evokes what I actually see in the shadows of similar
snow scenes.


...the effects you are referring to are idiosyncratic rather than normal....

Yes, they are (or at least the awareness of them). But words can color things, and often do so.

Non-traditional, experimental, alternate, different ways of seeing, de-conditioned perceptions, and other words can also be used, and carry somewhat different colorations or connotations.

Nilesh
03-29-2010, 06:56 PM
Enion, I would have to disagree on a number of points, but don't have the time to go into it all. We have different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and ways of seeing and understanding, on a number of points at least. We are all free to explore art and perception as we freely choose, and it shouldn't be too surprising that there is some divergence and diversity.

Einion
03-30-2010, 10:25 AM
Nilesh, the two links you posted were truncated. If you post the full links again I can edit your post so that they can be seen in context.

We are all free to explore art and perception as we freely choose, and it shouldn't be too surprising that there is some divergence and diversity.
Aye, this is a point we have re-emphasised here over the years.

There's an important distinction, that I hope is fairly obvious to people reading along, between saying "this is how things look to me" versus "this is how things are", when the colouration runs counter to how the majority of people see things, particularly other artists.

It is very clear that the focussed observation and careful analysis we do when we paint - I think perhaps especially when painting from life - does allow the painter to see (notice) subtleties of colour that aren't apparent to most other people. But when an individual or group of painters paint in a way that is very clearly seen by outside observers to be idiosyncratic or exaggerated in colour and they say this is how things 'should' appear to anyone, if they "just had eyes to see" or "looked properly" or "did the exercises", it should be clear why it's an issue for other artists, especially other painters who work in the same milieu. It often comes across as an Emperor's New Clothes type of deal.

I do want to say one closing point about this:

Sarback is VERY much attuned to Monet. She learned a lot from him, and from watching him paint (in actual film footage).

Monet did similar things to what she is doing, and actually saw these sorts of phenomena.

He wasn't just making it up...
I don't think anyone can definitively state whether or not Monet was making it up - notwithstanding his own statements about it or anything said about it by sympathetic painters of later generations.

Einion

gunzorro
03-30-2010, 11:40 AM
Nilesh -- Yes, that snow scene was Sarback, and sadly, and not the most egregious piece on her site. ;)

Some aspects of the vision system are susceptible to psychological tampering, what I would call "self-deluding justification", a way of saying a person trains themselves to see what they want to see, regardless of how others might see it differently or what scientific evidence might state. There is probably a super-fancy clinical name that I'm not familiar with -- if so, I'd like to hear it.

Here's an example from my life: I can "see" polarized light effects in landscapes, pavement, cars, and buildings. Of course, I can't really! But I've used polarizing filters on such subjects for so many years that I've trained myself to know what to expect from a given scene before looking through the filter or camera. I can imaging the light being turned off and one from a surface.

Same goes for seeing "wide angle" scenes -- I've looked through enough ultra-wide-angle lenses and seen the photo results, that I can look at a scene and use my peripheral vision to know what the scene will look like as a photograph without actually "seeing" it. (It's much easier today with digital images to immediately convey what the camera "saw".)

Both of these "delusions" are benign, and I can use them to provide scientifically repeatable results that can be demonstrated by anyone who owns a camera and the right accessories. No belief or worship involved.

I know it is my experience and imagination at work, with me at the controls extrapolating the likely result, not something I can build a cult around. But I could try! ;)

For me, it is quite a stretch to put Sarback and Monet in the same genre (or sentence). That's a radical comparison of talent and artistic contribution. I admire Monet as a trendsetting genius, but from what I've seen of Sarback, she is relying on a set of visual gimmicks to secure market share. I think a better comparison to Monet or other revered Impressionists might with Jeremy Lipking, as a sort of impressionistic realist approach.

llawrence
03-30-2010, 12:20 PM
Jeremy Lipking and Monet? There's one I wouldn't have thought of... Are you thinking about color approaches in particular?

llawrence
03-30-2010, 12:53 PM
Regarding the super-high-chroma approach: having experimented with it myself in a classroom setting recently, I have to agree with you (Gunzorro). It kind of made me "drunk on color" at the time, but looking back at the painting it is quite garish - to be fair to the instructor it was only an exercise in seeing color, and was accompanied by a low-chroma and mid-chroma portrait exercise as well. Of the three, only the mid-chroma wound up being anywhere near successful as a painting.

I will defend the idea that accurate reproductions can be more difficult for the high-chroma paintings. I had a really tough time photographing and correcting the high-chroma painting - using curves in Photoshop I could correct for one bright color, but would throw the others off in doing so. It could have been done using masks or correcting by color range, but most won't go through that process. I never succeeded to my satisfaction.

gunzorro
03-30-2010, 01:34 PM
llawrence -- I don't mean to say Lipking is the successor to Monet or the Impressionists. To my thinking (this is opinion!), his loose and impressionistic paintings are in keeping with the Impressionist movement.

The best Impressionists had great technical proficiency (including drawing), which I find lacking in Sarback's paintings. Lipking seems more akin technically to the major figures such as Monet, Pissarro, Manet, Renoir and Degas. At least those are the impressionists that come to my mind.

That sounds like an interesting exercise your teacher provided!!

llawrence
03-30-2010, 01:35 PM
Actually, I just got my answer to my photographing conundrum from an industry professional here: photograph a neutral gray Munsell chip alongside the painting and set the gray point on that. Awesome! This finally gives me no remaining excuse not to buy that set. Einion, should I post this in Computers and Technology?

llawrence
03-30-2010, 01:40 PM
Gunzorro, I understand and agree about Lipking now you mention it - for me one of the really fascinating things in the current world of art is the new resurgence of classical techniques, but in a way that accomodates and includes the discoveries of the impressionists. The once-sworn enemies have come to understand each other. It's a great time to be an artist...

Nilesh
03-30-2010, 02:51 PM
Nilesh, the two links you posted were truncated. If you post the full links again I can edit your post so that they can be seen in context.


Aye, this is a point we have re-emphasised here over the years.

There's an important distinction, that I hope is fairly obvious to people reading along, between saying "this is how things look to me" versus "this is how things are", when the colouration runs counter to how the majority of people see things, particularly other artists.

It is very clear that the focussed observation and careful analysis we do when we paint - I think perhaps especially when painting from life - does allow the painter to see (notice) subtleties of colour that aren't apparent to most other people. But when an individual or group of painters paint in a way that is very clearly seen by outside observers to be idiosyncratic or exaggerated in colour and they say this is how things 'should' appear to anyone, if they "just had eyes to see" or "looked properly" or "did the exercises", it should be clear why it's an issue for other artists, especially other painters who work in the same milieu. It often comes across as an Emperor's New Clothes type of deal.

I do want to say one closing point about this:


I don't think anyone can definitively state whether or not Monet was making it up - notwithstanding his own statements about it or anything said about it by sympathetic painters of later generations.

Einion Hope the links are working. If not, I will try to do something. They are links to two panels in Jose Clemente Orozco's Epic of American Civilization.

There's an important distinction, that I hope is fairly obvious to people reading along, between saying "this is how things look to me" versus "this is how things are", when the colouration runs counter to how the majority of people see things, particularly other artists.

Yes, but the distinction is not as watertight as it may appear.

The question of "how things are" in fact, or in reality [those words probably belong in quotes, or qualified with words like so-called, or so-conceived] is a huge one, and one that becomes more and more interesting the more you open it up.

Berkeley's dialogues between Hylas and Philonous point out, in very clear language and logic, the subjectivities involved in widely-supposed 'objective' observations and sensations.

Sensations and 'perceptions' can be reproduced and shared (and 'confirmed') in large part because we, as a species, share certain sense organs and neurological structures and patterns. There are other species that see and sense and process things very differently. Both the sense organs themselves are different and have different sensitivities, and the brains are different; and the consciousness is also different. (The one thing, interestingly, that may be consistent across species is awareness itself, without which nothing would be perceived at all; but this is probably wandering farther out than most care or want to go with it.)

So consensus-based realities can be biased and conditioned, rather than objective. They can be species-centric — they are not so objective — they are severely conditioned.

There are also other levels of conditioning — cultural and subcultural, for example, and various conditionings even within the art world itself. There are cultural conditionings and biases that affect artists. The majority's perceptions are often determined by conditioning. Majorities may determine elections, but truth is another matter. It is often the small minorities, or even single individuals, who make new inroads.

Sarback has been deeply engaged with a real process of freeing her perceptions from some of these biases and conditionings.

[I]It is very clear that the focussed observation and careful analysis we do when we paint - I think perhaps especially when painting from life - does allow the painter to see (notice) subtleties of colour that aren't apparent to most other people. But when an individual or group of painters paint in a way that is very clearly seen by outside observers to be idiosyncratic or exaggerated in colour and they say this is how things 'should' appear to anyone, if they "just had eyes to see" or "looked properly" or "did the exercises", it should be clear why it's an issue for other artists, especially other painters who work in the same milieu. It often comes across as an Emperor's New Clothes type of deal.

Yes, and I've had some similar reactions to Sarback. But I've also delved into her teachings enough to touch on some of the new perceptions to which she is pointing. Otherwise I may well have remained a skeptic.

There are so many teachers out there who are promoting themselves, their books, their approaches, their workshops, etc. that it is hard to believe what they say. So we tend to become jaded or cynical.

To my surprise, I have found Sarback to be an exception.

She means what she says.

Again, if I had not experienced it for myself, I would have it in the back of my mind that the testimonials may be false or exaggerated or whatever. But when I had these experiences, and then afterward read people's descriptions of the same; and when they accorded exactly with what Sarback herself is saying (but in very surprising ways)...and also when meeting her and having in-depth conversations with her, and seeing that this is a very intelligent and sincere person who has delved into all this (and especially color perceptions) with real and unusual levels of dedication and honesty for many years, ...well, the old cynicism just kind of faded in the sun. At a certain point one sees that one is dealing with something exceptional and different.

I wouldn't expect others to do the same, especially without delving into what she says in more experiential detail, so all I can do is refer people to the reviews and testimonials, both on her site and at amazon.com and elsewhere — and then to giving her teaching a chance, if they are interested. She is not trying to make people paint like her; she is trying to open up new types of seeing, in part through helping people to find ways out of conditioned ruts.

There was a seismic shift in the quality of my paintings after one workshop with Susan Sarback . Susan doesn’t only teach and demonstrate in a masterful and articulate manner, she gets you to experience it for yourself. She has developed a clear 4-stage process that injects strength and luminosity into your paintings – regardless of style. As an artist I had some degree of success, but there was always something missing. Susan had the key and I am thrilled beyond description. I live on the other side of the country but will be attending her workshops regularly.
-Sarita L. Moffat, Vice President (Retired) National Geographic

It has changed my life... It has furnished me with not only a new way of seeing....

Another part of this is that there is a real delight in it. It is like a renewed injection of life into one's perception. I am not alone in experiencing it this way.

This book offers a treasure trove of insight and tips on craft. It actually teaches us a new way to perceive!

I know that may sound inaccurate, but it is a simple, direct, honest description of the experience; and you can find others saying the same thing, both on her site and in independent reviews. It is simply true.

She isn't so much saying that you should see like this, or experience like this, but rather that you can — and she has spent many years refining her approaches and communications to facilitate others' learning and growth, on a very direct perceptual-experiential level, not just theoretically.

The first twenty-nine pages of her 2007 book give a good sense of all this.

[She also deals with a variety of approaches (both hers and others') to shadows in these pages.]

Nilesh
03-30-2010, 03:08 PM
Nilesh -- Yes, that snow scene was Sarback, and sadly, and not the most egregious piece on her site. ;)

Some aspects of the vision system are susceptible to psychological tampering, what I would call "self-deluding justification", a way of saying a person trains themselves to see what they want to see, regardless of how others might see it differently or what scientific evidence might state. There is probably a super-fancy clinical name that I'm not familiar with -- if so, I'd like to hear it.

Here's an example from my life: I can "see" polarized light effects in landscapes, pavement, cars, and buildings. Of course, I can't really! But I've used polarizing filters on such subjects for so many years that I've trained myself to know what to expect from a given scene before looking through the filter or camera. I can imaging the light being turned off and one from a surface.

Same goes for seeing "wide angle" scenes -- I've looked through enough ultra-wide-angle lenses and seen the photo results, that I can look at a scene and use my peripheral vision to know what the scene will look like as a photograph without actually "seeing" it. (It's much easier today with digital images to immediately convey what the camera "saw".)

Both of these "delusions" are benign, and I can use them to provide scientifically repeatable results that can be demonstrated by anyone who owns a camera and the right accessories. No belief or worship involved.

I know it is my experience and imagination at work, with me at the controls extrapolating the likely result, not something I can build a cult around. But I could try! ;)

For me, it is quite a stretch to put Sarback and Monet in the same genre (or sentence). That's a radical comparison of talent and artistic contribution. I admire Monet as a trendsetting genius, but from what I've seen of Sarback, she is relying on a set of visual gimmicks to secure market share. I think a better comparison to Monet or other revered Impressionists might with Jeremy Lipking, as a sort of impressionistic realist approach. Some of her paintings don't appeal to me either; but others do. I suspect that if you saw a wider range of her paintings — in person especially, or even the ones in her 2007 book — you would find some of them quite beautiful. She has won major awards and recognition; and her better work deserves it, in the views of eyes that are not entirely unworthy of our respect, nor terribly far beneath our own.

Monet was my favorite painter for some years. He is still one of my favorite painters. I don't think all of his paintings are on the same level. Some I do not even like. The same is true for virtually every other artist I have encountered (at least those who have more than one or a few surviving works).

Some aspects of the vision system are susceptible to psychological tampering, what I would call "self-deluding justification", a way of saying a person trains themselves to see what they want to see, regardless of how others might see it differently or what scientific evidence might state....

Auto-suggestion, self-hypnosis?

That is one possible way of seeing Sarback's approach. And it is plausible. But the scientific approach would be to treat this as one possible hypothesis (among others), subject to testing — not as fact or truth. The leap from plausibility to fact or truth is a recognized fallacy.

Your views of Sarback toward the end seems harsh, inaccurate, and somewhat conjectural to me. At least treat these hypotheses or conjectures as hypotheses or conjectures, rather than fact, and remain open to further evidence and possibilities, out of fairness or a respect for truth.

Doug Nykoe
03-30-2010, 03:47 PM
You know Nilish these things are not new, the Impressionists, Cezanne and many others have been leaving us a lot of these new ways of seeing and exploring art on our own terms which are mostly in how we shape our attitudes. But I am glad Sarback is championing these great attitudes of the past. :clap:


~

Einion
03-31-2010, 02:13 PM
Jim, I think post #30 is just excellent http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif


Actually, I just got my answer to my photographing conundrum from an industry professional here: photograph a neutral gray Munsell chip alongside the painting and set the gray point on that. Awesome! This finally gives me no remaining excuse not to buy that set. Einion, should I post this in Computers and Technology?
Neutral grey cards from Kodak are also available specifically for photographic reasons. In addition to being a good neutral point to correct to if they're in the frame somewhere they're useful for setting TTL metering just right for the current lighting (which was their original intent).

Unfortunately just having a known neutral in the photo, while a great start, isn't a complete fix. White and black points are also very useful to have, to check for proper tonal range and compensate if necessary (which will be usually - it is nearly always compressed). An excellent product for this is the WhiBal (http://www.rawworkflow.com/whibal/) card. I can't remember now if I read about it here on WC or on ImagingResource but here (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/WHB/WHB.HTM) is the page that mentions it on that site.

Beyond that, commercially when shooting full-colour artwork multiple-colour reference strips are generally included, to give specific targets for correction in all colour zones or directions. This is overkill for the casual user and a really good white, neutral and black reference like the WhiBal should generally be good enough.


Nilesh, thanks for taking the time to post in depth about some of the points.

Yes, but the distinction is not as watertight as it may appear.

The question of "how things are" in fact, or in reality [those words probably belong in quotes, or qualified with words like so-called, or so-conceived] is a huge one, and one that becomes more and more interesting the more you open it up.

Berkeley's dialogues between Hylas and Philonous point out, in very clear language and logic, the subjectivities involved in widely-supposed 'objective' observations and sensations.
I am of course well aware of the amount of conditioning and subjectivity in human vision and visual processing :) what could be thought of as post-processing of the visual information in the brain is at the core of many visual effects, like our near-instant 'colour correction' for different lighting contexts. But when I'm talking about the distinction between subjective viewpoints and the way things are; I'm not comparing one way of seeing with the general way things are perceived, rather the way things might be perceived (irrespective of how that might be) versus how they can be shown to be, empirically.

Just to give one example, say shadows in an image or a scene look blue to the observer (even if it's everyone) but measurement shows them to be greys or near-neutrals. To paint them 'the way they look' (subjective statement there!) is to paint them the wrong colour. It really can be boiled down to being as simple as that for many realist painters, since they are not actually blue, they just look blue.

If you take an image or scene and break it down to see key areas without any context - e.g. by viewing through a peep card - and use those observations to paint you can be said to be most faithfully reproducing the colour actually present, and this is how some people want to paint. Further, within certain limits this will reproduce contextual illusions like simultaneous contrast in the painting, where they can be seen much like (sometimes nearly exactly like) they were in the original.

Before someone else brings it up: I do have to add that there are certain optical effects that this approach will remove - glare being perhaps the most obvious example - so this is where naked-eye observation and practice/experience will come into play, if the painter wishes. But in simpler settings where the lighting can be considered to be fairly 'neutral', like a fairly typical indoor still-life setup, this will do a darned good job of creating a painting that is undeniably very accurate and realistic. It's sure not to create an image that or Ms. Sarback or other Cape School followers, and anyone of like mind, will be happy with and that's fine - different strokes for different folks.

Sarback has been deeply engaged with a real process of freeing her perceptions from some of these biases and conditionings.
I think you might want bear in mind that this is also true of a great many other painters who paint from life outdoors... the fact that they come to very different results is a key aspect of this.

Einion

Nilesh
03-31-2010, 04:19 PM
Just to give one example, say shadows in an image or a scene look blue to the observer (even if it's everyone) but measurement shows them to be greys or near-neutrals. To paint them 'the way they look' (subjective statement there!) is to paint them the wrong colour. It really can be boiled down to being as simple as that for many realist painters, since they are not actually blue, they just look blue.

Thank you for some good points.

To address this one, in which there can be some interesting divergence of views, measurement can be flawed.

Cameras, spectrometers, advanced (expensive German or Swiss or _______) spectrometers, and other recording and measuring devices are sometimes taken to be accurate in some objective or absolute way.

I have to question this, even on strictly scientific grounds.

One aspect is this: put a camera and a spectrometer on a table, and a human being next to them, all looking at the same scene. One thing that stands out immediately is that these are wildly different creatures. Take them apart and spread the pieces out on a large surface, and you see a set of mechanical parts next to a wild set of mysterious wetware. The events that go on inside the (intact) human organism (eyes, nerves, billions of interconnected neurons, trillions of electro-chemical interactions and electro-chemical responses to light, etc. -- almost unimaginable in its richness and complexity and ongoing changes, each fraction of a second).

Really, I think it is just WILDLY different.

On the side of the objective scene itself, things aren't so mechanical as they at first seem. Photons, to take one example, are themselves deep mysteries. If someone thinks he or she knows and understands what a photon is, and is correct in that assessment, there is the Nobel Prize waiting. The nature of a photon has eluded Einstein and a long list of other scientists. I've heard them marvel at some of the inexplicable behaviors exhibited by photons.

They have never been captured and held.

It is uncertain whether they are waves or particles or something else (probably something else).

Their mass is mysterious; their speed has altered people's minds when they have delved into it.

The color wheel tends to fool people in a way: there are wide bands below red and infrared; there are wide bands above violet and ultraviolet. The circle suggests some kind of completeness, in an unspoken way. A fuller diagram might serve as a reminder of how narrow the visible spectrum is.

So a lot is going on, just in the realm of photons in the scene, that is not detected or considered by the instruments.

***
So, to return to the statement above, To paint them 'the way they look' (subjective statement there!) is to paint them the wrong colour. It really can be boiled down to being as simple as that for many realist painters, since they are not actually blue, they just look blue, the realists are limiting their considerations of what is real and what is in the picture rather severely.

Are we painting (1) what is really there, (2) what is subjectively seen, or (3) what is seen by the instruments, (4) some narrow band of reality, as seen by the instruments, (5) some filtered and subjectively interpreted (through certain narrowed-down aspects of science) form of reality? Or something else?

I just can't get too excited about the 'precision' of matching colors according to instruments.

Also, color perception, it seems to me, takes place largely in the brain. Maybe I should start a thread here on the neurologists' views on color. They seem closer to the truth than MacEvoy and many others who tend to focus on the retina and other aspects. It seems to me that the neurologists are closer.

Even there, though, there is the gross anatomical level [and talk, for example, about the right temporal-parietal junction, and how lesions there affect perceptions, etc. — common parlance among neurologists, and Oliver Sacks might have some good case studies of how brain damage affects color perception....in fact, there is one case in this book of a colorblind artist:

http://www.amazon.com/Anthropologist-Mars-Seven-Paradoxical-Tales/dp/0679756973

(It seems to me that some consideration of the neurological points of view might be very relevant to a serious student of color and color perceptions.)]

...there is the gross anatomical level (which is one perspective or viewpoint), and then there are closer, micro-anatomical studies of what is going on. Some scientists focus on cellular processes, for example. Others might go to the molecular level. Still others might go down to other levels.

So there are multiple viewpoints or systems of understanding even within neurology.

***
Even though neurologists do seem closer to the truth of color perception (that it is occurring in the brain), there are still elements that are often left out in their systems of understanding.

To me, it seems that there are some added elements. One specific one is awareness. It seems that the events are actually taking place in some kind of not-well-understood interface or combination of complex interactions — gross neuro-anatomical, molecular, electrical, neuro-cellular, chemical, quantum, etc. events and interactions in the brain — with awareness.

Another perspective is that awareness is often focused on events in the brain, and 'interlaced' with them, giving them some sense of reality.

***
So if Sarback sees a blue or a violet, and none of the instruments see it, is it really there or not?

In some cases, I think she is probably seeing something that the instruments are missing.

In other cases, she (or someone else) might be 'imagining' — though that may be a richer and more complex realm that it appears.

In some cases, it may involve some kind of hallucination (again, a complex realm though).

Are the instruments always correct? It does seem that they have some severe limitations, at least.

In some situations, the human eye can detect a single photon (according to some studies, at least). Do the instruments detect every stray photon?

How many photons hit us each second?

How many enter the eye each second, in a more or less typical landscape situation where shadows are being observed?

How many chemical reactions are occurring in the brain each second while this is happening?

Nilesh
03-31-2010, 04:34 PM
The Oliver Sacks book has sample pages available on amazon.com,

http://www.amazon.com/Anthropologist-Mars-Seven-Paradoxical-Tales/dp/0679756973#reader_0679756973

Even the sample pages are fascinating -- they can be viewed by clicking on the image of the book in order to 'look inside.'

gunzorro
03-31-2010, 04:59 PM
Einion -- Wow! I'm looking forward to your response to the above from Nilesh.

I don't know how to respond to such convoluted logic, supposition and irrelevant data to painting a representational picture.

I'm still reminded favorably of the rather humble approach of the Carder System. I keep thinking how well it satisfies the desire of most inexperienced people to craft a recognizable painting of a subject, or even copying a photo. After reading Nilesh's dissertation above, Carder's use of color matching and accurate measuring seems so down to earth for getting started in oil painting. I'm not saying it is the ultimate educational tool, but it does seem to have "direct" written all over it (under controlled lighting, of course ;) ). I only learned of the Carder Method here on WC a couple years ago, but I must say, it made sense right away!

Here is where I find a major contrast, and have some difficulty with the Sarback approach as espoused here by Nilesh: it seems needlessly complex (with accompanying philosophical theory and irrelevant data) and wrapped in misunderstanding of color theory (and apparently not even prizing accurate drawing).

I agree with your point that subjects should be painted as they actually ARE and not as we see them to be. I've seen enough examples from you, Carder, Dave Corcoran, and others, to know how wide of the mark we can be in rendering what we think we see. I'm usually appalled when I find this trait not only embraced, but then exaggerated upon as some sort of gimmick or novelty. And that's my reaction to the paintings I saw on Sarback's website.

Nilesh
03-31-2010, 06:04 PM
Sarback is actually very simple. And she usually matches what she sees; but central to her painting approach is a different type of seeing, or a different attitude and approach to seeing. So she is seeing things that most people are not attentive to. From what I can tell (from experimenting with it, and from speaking with her and watching her, etc.), at least some of this is actually seen.

There are some interesting responses from her students here,

http://www.lightandcolor.com/students.html

And this interview touches on some of the deeper aspects of her responses to light, and her exploration of light:

http://www.lightandcolor.com/susan_interview.html

***
She has said it herself, that central to her approach to painting is this new approach to perceiving color — what she sometimes calls full-color seeing.

It is difficult for me to go away from reading that interview (and the rest, including meeting her and watching her) without wondering if (just maybe) this person has gone a little deeper into the perception of light and color than most artists and teachers.

Nilesh
03-31-2010, 06:07 PM
...painting a representational picture....

There's a relevant question to ask of of this: What is it representing?

Seriously.

(1) What is it supposed to represent, or what is it assumed to represent?

And (2) What does it actually represent, on closer examination?

Nilesh
03-31-2010, 06:25 PM
...I'm still reminded favorably of the rather humble approach of the Carder System. I keep thinking how well it satisfies the desire of most inexperienced people to craft a recognizable painting of a subject, or even copying a photo. After reading Nilesh's dissertation above, Carder's use of color matching and accurate measuring seems so down to earth for getting started in oil painting. I'm not saying it is the ultimate educational tool, but it does seem to have "direct" written all over it (under controlled lighting, of course ;) ). I only learned of the Carder Method here on WC a couple years ago, but I must say, it made sense right away!


I was once drawn to the Carder system. And there is no doubt that some first-time painters have produced impressive paintings (at least they are impressive to some) using this method.

After looking into it more, though, it started to seem very mechanical. Photocopiers do something similar. The artist as human photocopier is not an appealing vision of the artist. (Though Portrait of the Artist as a Human Photocopier might be an interesting computer-age sequel to James Joyce.)

There are other aspects of the Carder Method, and other ways of looking at it; but I find it lacking in some central way — not that it can't be a good learning tool, and not that it cannot help in matching colors and values. It just seems to leave out some essential and more deeply satisfying aspects of art.

Nilesh
03-31-2010, 06:40 PM
Einion -- Wow! I'm looking forward to your response to the above from Nilesh.

I don't know how to respond to such convoluted logic, supposition and irrelevant data to painting a representational picture.

I'm still reminded favorably of the rather humble approach of the Carder System. I keep thinking how well it satisfies the desire of most inexperienced people to craft a recognizable painting of a subject, or even copying a photo. After reading Nilesh's dissertation above, Carder's use of color matching and accurate measuring seems so down to earth for getting started in oil painting. I'm not saying it is the ultimate educational tool, but it does seem to have "direct" written all over it (under controlled lighting, of course ;) ). I only learned of the Carder Method here on WC a couple years ago, but I must say, it made sense right away!

Here is where I find a major contrast, and have some difficulty with the Sarback approach as espoused here by Nilesh: it seems needlessly complex (with accompanying philosophical theory and irrelevant data) and wrapped in misunderstanding of color theory (and apparently not even prizing accurate drawing).

I agree with your point that subjects should be painted as they actually ARE and not as we see them to be. I've seen enough examples from you, Carder, Dave Corcoran, and others, to know how wide of the mark we can be in rendering what we think we see. I'm usually appalled when I find this trait not only embraced, but then exaggerated upon as some sort of gimmick or novelty. And that's my reaction to the paintings I saw on Sarback's website.

If you bothered to read her book and the other materials that are available, or meet her, or listen to her (with a reasonable degree of care and openness), or see a wider range of her paintings in person, and so on, you might — just might — be able to form some more accurate understandings of what she is doing.

As far as "convoluted logic, supposition and irrelevant data" go, that too shows little comprehension of what is being said. It is a surface reaction.

I find the data relevant, the reasoning straightforward, and the logic reasonably simple. So do any number of neuroscientists.

Nilesh
03-31-2010, 06:48 PM
There is a sentence that should be revised to the following in order to read properly:

The events that go on inside the (intact) human organism (eyes, nerves, billions of interconnected neurons, trillions of electro-chemical interactions and electro-chemical responses to light, etc.) is almost unimaginable in its richness and complexity and ongoing changes, each fraction of a second.

Why is this relevant? Because, in part, it gives some sense of how vastly richer and more complex the human organism is as it perceives colors and light.

oddman99
03-31-2010, 07:03 PM
In art anything goes, as long as it is legal and doesn't harm the public (some may even question legality). That I may or may not appreciate this artist or another is irrelevant to what is art.

Painting is not required to be done with precise measuring instrument, but only with some thing or idea to communicate to the viewer. It is for the beholder to accept or reject the work as he or she see fit. Such is the world of art.

It pointed out in an earlier post that there can be normal perception and idiosyncratic perception. Who cares what it is? Was Van Gogh's view of things normal? Whatever it was it was sheer genius and, of this there is no argument! Now what about the likes of Picassao or David Hockney?

We show what we show, and we show if how we wish. Some of um may even be fraudulent in our claims as to what we see and how we paint, possibly we are trying to put off the competiton or are trying to promote our work. Was Monet a fraud? After all, he also worked in the studio despite having written to the contrary. He also dabbed in colours for the sake of harmony.

As to the origin of this thread, overcast's query about colour in shadows it has been answered adequately by Gunzorro and myself for the purposes of a beginning painter. All the other stuff is so beyond the realm of the cuurent issue as to not be pertinent here and should be pursued elsewhere, where it may be prove stimulating and more useful to this forum.

oddman99
03-31-2010, 07:17 PM
In art anything goes, as long as it is legal and doesn't harm the public (some may even question the aspect of legality). That I may or may not appreciate this artist or that one is irrelevant to what is art.

Painting is not required to be done with precise measuring instruments, but with any implement that serves to communicate the artist's message. It is but for the beholder to accept or reject the work as he or she see fit. Such is the world of art.

It is pointed out in an earlier post that there can be normal perception and idiosyncratic perception. Who cares which one it is if it is artful? Was Van Gogh's view of things normal? Whatever it was, it is sheer genius and, of this there can be no argument! Now what about the likes of Picasso or David Hockney?

We show what we show, and we show it as we wish. Some of us may even be fraudulent in our claims as to what we see and how we paint, possibly we are trying to put off the competiton or are trying to promote our work. That is our burden. Was Monet a fraud? After all, he also worked in the studio despite having made self-righteous claims to the contrary. He also dabbed in arbitrary colours for the sake of harmony.

As to the origin of this thread, overcast's query about colour in shadows, it has been answered adequately by Gunzorro and myself for the purposes of a beginning painter. All the other stuff is so beyond the realm of the basic topic as to be irrelevant and should not be pursued here any further. It may, however, prove stimulating and fruitful to to consider the subject elsewhere in this forum.

oddman99
03-31-2010, 07:17 PM
Oops!

llawrence
03-31-2010, 08:56 PM
Einion, thanks for the info on WhiBal. I've set black and white point on images plenty of times, don't know why it never occurred to me to delve into the neutral gray point before.

There is a sentence that should be revised to the following in order to read properly:

The events that go on inside the (intact) human organism (eyes, nerves, billions of interconnected neurons, trillions of electro-chemical interactions and electro-chemical responses to light, etc.) is almost unimaginable in its richness and complexity and ongoing changes, each fraction of a second.

Why is this relevant? Because, in part, it gives some sense of how vastly richer and more complex the human organism is as it perceives colors and light.I understand this. What I don't understand is the assumption that the same phenomenon wouldn't hold true for a painting. If, in viewing a scene in front of me, I perceive colors with a richness and complexity that is unmatched by electronic devices, then surely that rich and complex perception will hold true when I view a painting. So there should be no need to push saturations in the painting to reflect reality; my own perception will supply the same effect there as anywhere else. A shadow is gray, I perceive it as blue. In the painting: the shadow is painted gray, I perceive it as blue - if I've composed the painting carefully.

Overkilling the saturation might even have the opposite effect intended - it might overwhelm and deaden one's perception to the subtleties that might be readily visible otherwise. I think that can happen when we take these extremely subtle hue shifts (which are hard to see - I'll give you that) and push them too hard. I think pushing them slightly can have a marvelous effect - but even that is an interpretation, one out of many.

Einion
04-01-2010, 11:15 AM
Mod note: I know it can be difficult in a discussion like this but please try to be careful to confine comments to the ideas presented and not the presenter of them. We've skated up to line here in a couple of instances; every effort should be made to stay well clear of it.

On a separate note, I think enough of the thread has now been devoted to debating the merits of Ms. Sarback's painting and her teaching so I'm going to call a halt.

Because of the interleaved discussion I can't really see a way to neatly split out the existing discussion to another thread for anyone who wanted to continue it. But as far as this thread goes we've certainly gone into enough detail from either side especially when we haven't heard back from the OP to clarify what they might be particularly interested in delving into further.

Einion

gunzorro
04-01-2010, 01:31 PM
Einion -- Just to clear up a point I made in error, or didn't define well the parameters of:

"I agree with your point that subjects should be painted as they actually ARE and not as we see them to be."

I didn't mean to rule out interpretative painting or other variations on "reality". And I didn't mean to suggest you had stated that view! ;) I should have expanded that sentence to make clear I only meant when the intent was to duplicate the subject, not being fooled by what the colors might seem to be.

Einion
04-01-2010, 02:26 PM
No worries Jim, I read it as you intended.

Einion

oddman99
04-01-2010, 02:52 PM
Llawrence, painting the scene as you know it to be rather than as you perceive it in nature may not, neccessarily, produce the SC effect you require in order to render them both the same. The reason I say this (I have not tried to actually do it) is because I believe that the SC effect is generated neurologically (in part) by contrast in brightness between the sunlitsnow and the shadow. If so, because our paints do not and cannot match the brightness of nature, we probably cannot produce the requisite contrast without unduly distorting the surrounding values of the scene. These are my thoughts, not a dictum but a caveat.

Nilesh
04-01-2010, 03:59 PM
One other aspect:

Objects are often said to have color. But it is the wavelength of the light (the photons) bouncing off the object (or the molecules that are, typically, on or near the surface of the object) that are closer to the truth of the matter.

So it is sometimes said that a certain wavelength of light has a certain color. This has been measured and charted, and can be found online.

Certain wavelengths are a certain color.

Or are they?

After considering the neurological facts, it seems that the light has no color at all.

Those light waves are as absent of color as radio waves or microwaves (which are, after all, photons with wavelengths just below the barely visible part of the infrared range).

These colorless light waves strike the retina and elicit reactions in the cells there, which send signals out the optic nerve. If those cells were attuned (or adapted, or structured) to respond to radio waves, we would 'see' those, rather than the ones we see.

So the 'color reaction' seems more and more like a stimulated brain state. It is something like an emotion (in fact, colors often seem to have some semi-emotional meaning or feeling).

The retina is like a transducer that converts colorless waves (of certain wavelengths) to neuro-chemical signals, which in turn stimulate certain patterns of activity within the neurons.

This would predict that when these patterns of activity are initiated independently of the optic nerves' signals, colors would be seen. [Conversely, it would predict that even when the signals are present, if the patterns of neural activity are somehow blocked or prevented, no color perception will occur.][Another issue is that it may be more of a reaction or stimulated neural activity pattern than a 'perception,' though.]

This is exactly the case.

Sacks and others deal with this.

gunzorro
04-01-2010, 04:38 PM
Overcast -- In looking again at your questions, a couple things come to mind.

It seems as though you are looking for confirmation of the idea that the shadow is a complementary color to the main light source. To that, I'd say it is an interesting guideline or rule of thumb, but not a principle of color theory, except under certain conditions, not likely those found in outdoor settings. To that end, I say do careful spot analysis of all areas of your subject, including the shadows and mix your colors accordingly.

I wouldn't get overly involved with edge color fringing or penumbra effects in natural lighting. In artifical lighting, anything goes -- you might run into strange irregularlies for strongly lit subjects with unusual hued (of colored gels) lights.

The color in the shadow in a high contrast scene will only be visible if you compress your values. Otherwise the shadow areas will essentially be black. If you have compressed, then there will be chromatic areas in the shadows, and depending on the value, some might be fairly chromatic around Chroma 4 or 6. See how objects look in underexposed photos to get an idea of the colors in dark areas.

Regarding the two colors, red and yellow, that you mention as reflecting into the shadow -- The effect would be some degree of the mixture of the two colors and the surface areas/reflectance of the colors. If of equal size, the yellow would have more influence in the color mixture, being more reflective. But the overall effect would be a combination of yellow-red. How much effect would depend on the distance from the shadowed area and the difference the brightness of the reflection makes. There are formulas you can use to compute the light fall-off (inverse square law) as well metering the actual light. But I think simple observation or a few simple tests will answer your question.

I hope this helps you get started on the shadows. If you have an example (photos) of your subject, that might be helpful for any other advice.

Einion
04-01-2010, 07:11 PM
I'm sorry, was this unclear in some way?
On a separate note, I think enough of the thread has now been devoted to debating the merits of Ms. Sarback's painting and her teaching so I'm going to call a halt.

Einion

Michaelmcg
04-02-2010, 12:44 PM
I have done a couple of workshops with Susan Sarback, but about 5 and 7 years ago now respectively, so I believe I can be reasonably objective here. I have seen the same argument come up over and over on this forum and have give up on commenting other than very infrequently, because the discussion inevitably becomes black and white which it is anything but (I may indeed have been guilty of this in the past too!).

It all comes down to one simple fact - you can't paint what you see in nature. This is simply due to the fact that the variation in light intensity (brightest versus darkest notes) in nature can't possibly be replicated in paint on a 2D surface. Once you understand this, you learn to respect the views of others, no matter how polarly opposite to yours they may be. Ultimately all attempts at depticting reality in paint are the subjective experience of the artist coupled with his/her level of skill. For any artist there is no "objective" reality or right way to paint, as captured by cameras, light meters or whatever. At the end of the day, visual reality is entirely subjective - it can only be so - we only succeed as visual reality artists if others connect with our perception of visual reality. If your goal as an artist is "visual reality" as mine is (albeit impossible to ever achieve!), then your painting is a success if you convey what attracted you to the scene to the viewer. If that involves some exaggeration here and there, so be it - we only have hue, chroma, edges and a very limited value range to play with.

So finally, a humble plea to those on both sides of the argument here. Cut each other a little slack - in the broad spectrum of human visual experience you may both well be right!

Michael

Einion
04-02-2010, 01:44 PM
Mod hat on: I want to be very clear here, not another word about Sarback in this thread unless specifically at the request of the OP.

Mod hat off:

Michael, I have to point out something about your opening implication, whether unconscious or deliberate - not having done a workshop with Ms. Sarback in no way makes someone inherently less able to be objective about what she says/teaches or her work.

I have seen the same argument come up over and over on this forum and have give up on commenting other than very infrequently, because the discussion inevitably becomes black and white which it is anything but (I may indeed have been guilty of this in the past too!).
Some issues are black and white Michael, whether participants or lurkers are willing or able to accept it or not.

Others are more a matter of interpretation of course... and notwithstanding that view of the forum - from people who are just as convinced as our posters that they know better ;) - every effort is made here to distinguish between the two. If you paint something the wrong colour it is, quite simply, the wrong colour; I have difficulty grasping why this is difficult for some people to accept. Although value is the most important to get right overall* this is perhaps most true when the hue is wrong, as in the classic example of low-chroma greys and near-neutrals appearing to be more blue than they are.

*Something else people argue needlessly about!

It all comes down to one simple fact - you can't paint what you see in nature. This is simply due to the fact that the variation in light intensity (brightest versus darkest notes) in nature can't possibly be replicated in paint on a 2D surface.
Given the right subject matter that's a very valid point Michael. But not everything is lit brightly enough that it's really that critical. Something that is frequently not recognised is that many colours in nature, yes even outdoors in daylight, are well within the gamut of paints - so therefore it's just one reflective surface (the paint) mimicking another reflective surface (the grass, leaves or whatever); now obviously the painting needs to be seen lit well for this to work within reason but still, it's often an implication that this is actually not possible.

Once you understand this, you learn to respect the views of others, no matter how polarly opposite to yours they may be. Ultimately all attempts at depticting reality in paint are the subjective experience of the artist coupled with his/her level of skill.
Achem, I think it's abundantly clear that some are a lot more subjective than others! :cool:

Einion

Michaelmcg
04-04-2010, 03:31 AM
Michael, I have to point out something about your opening implication, whether unconscious or deliberate - not having done a workshop with Ms. Sarback in no way makes someone inherently less able to be objective about what she says/teaches or her work.

Agreed of course. There was no such implication intended. I actually meant the opposite, i.e. I may have been less objective if I had done a more recent workshop. The fact that they were some time ago means that I can be more objective.

this is perhaps most true when the hue is wrong, as in the classic example of low-chroma greys and near-neutrals appearing to be more blue than they are.

To my eye the most beautiful paintings are those which capture the subtle colour shifts in near neutral greys - pushing that a little can be very effective - overdone and you've got garish! A blue bias would of course be wrong.

Achem, I think it's abundantly clear that some are a lot more subjective than others! :cool:.

Isn't it that diversity that makes painting so interesting? :wink2:

Michael

cjorgensen
04-06-2010, 08:09 PM
Hi Overcast!

It's always exciting here in the "color" threads. People have religious convictions here about color and I think all of them have merit.

I read a lot of what was said, but I did not read everything. This is MY opinion: (take what you like and leave the rest).

For me, leaning on black to darken a color and white to lighten a color is not always the best way to go. Another way to darken is to go around the color wheel to an adjacent color. For example, to darken green, add some blue, and to lighten a green add some yellow.

Many painters of the past did not use black to darken, but they DID use black when what they were painting was black, as in, a black outfit. But even a black outfit has light and dark areas. Tricky.

When you use white to lighten something, it tends to make it chalky. So I pop a little yellow in there too.

When colored objects are next to each other, they tend to throw a little bit of their color on to each other. So if you have a red tomato next to a green bell pepper, some of the tomato red will be reflected onto the green pepper, and visa versa.

The sky is full of blue light, as you can see when you look at it. But the blue is not just "up there", it is all around and in the atmosphere. So when you have a shadow, it is not a pure gray (black + white), but it has some sky color in it. Therefore, shadows tend to have a cool-ish cast to them, meaning, they are more of a blue-gray or purple gray. And since not everything in shadow is originally white, maybe they are more of a blue-green or blue-brown. So when I make a sky, I use some of that color paint, but darker, when I mix my shadows.

I have heard a rule that says, "Warm light - cool shadows, Cool light - warm shadows". I can understand how "warm light - cool shadows" works, (perhaps warm desert light with a shadow full of sky color), but I don't know about the other way. But there it is for what it's worth.

When I paint a picture, it is important to me to really design what parts are in light and what parts are in shadow. I know it obvious when you look at something, but I think it needs to conscientiously worked out in a painting. In the light, I can use all kinds of colors, but keep them in a light value, and in the shadows, I use all kinds of darks, but keep them in the low values. For example, if you were painting flowers under a tree, they would not be all blue and purple, but they wold be darker (darker pinks, darker yellows) than the flowers in the sunshine.

There is another rule that says "if you get the values right, it does not matter what color you are using". When you are working on a painting, photoshop it and see how it looks in grayscale. If it looks right, with distinguishable lights and darks, then you are doing fine. If all the grays blend, then you have a problem: you need darker darks and lighter lights, of whatever color they are.

I also learned this trick at a workshop: I under paint all my shadow areas in cool colors of the color wheel, and all the lit areas in warm colors. The shadows are not necessarily "dark" but they are "cool". You can have a light-valued shadow. I paint those a light-cool color. Oils are somewhat transparent, and I find this system helps. To under paint a sky in a pale yellow and then put the light blue on top of it when it drys, does make it glow.

Here is a little building from a painting I did. In the photo, the building was just glaring white on one side, and pale gray on the other. I under painted the shadow side a cool color. I used pale cerulean in the shadow since cerulean was in the sky, and I painted the lit side a pale yellow. When that dried, I scumbled white on both sides, so the under painting of warm and cool would just barely peek through. It did seem to me to make the lit side warmed by the sun, and the shadow side reflecting the sky. I am including the under painting of the house and the final painting.

This is the under painting:
(I under painted the roof Alizarin: warm-but-dark)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Apr-2010/108679-100_2162_improved_cropped_house.jpg

This is with the white on top after it dried:
(I hope you see that I put a little reflected yellow of the grass on the shadow side. Since it is a darker yellow, it still looks like it is in shadow. The yellow grass isreflecting light up into the shadow.) Another rule says, "Nothing in shadow is lighter than anything in light, and nothing in light is darker than anything in shadow". So even "black" in the light is lighter than "white" in a shadow.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Apr-2010/108679-100_2491_improved_house..jpg

The top layer of the roof was cad red light straight from the tube, but letting some of the alizarin peek through. On the actual painting, the white looks whiter. The house in the photo was just stark white with a bright red roof.

This is the whole painting, to get the gist of it (16x20)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Apr-2010/108679-100_2490_improved_small.jpg

The more you paint, the more you will figure out, so just keep painting.