View Full Version : Time of day effects painting?
11-11-2011, 12:52 PM
I am wondering, I noticed lately that when I paint, the time of day in which I paint generally causes my painting to be darker or lighter. Do you also notice this?
I'm talking about from a photograph in an artificially lit room.
So I'll start painting and it's bright and colorful but by the afternoon, it starts having more shadows and I tend to paint it in more muted tones.
Do you generally paint at the same time everyday so that you will have the same light and energy throughout the painting?
I paint fairly quickly so it's not an issue. But I prefer to paint in natural light. if I can't for whatever reason I use good lightbulbs, lamps and overhead lights.
in a perfect world i like to paint from 8 or 9 am to 2 or 3 pm, in natural light
in a non perfect world i'm painting in the evening with sucky light and yes, it definitely effects the mood/outcome of the painting via visibility and energy
i pretty much always have a collection of wips tho, so evening painting pieces to work on are picked accordingly
Use Her Name
11-13-2011, 05:16 PM
You're assuming you are "the same" at a certain time of day, and that "conditions" also are the same. I like to get things done quickly because I knwo I will not be that same person who started the work ever again. I am far too temporary and unstable day to day and hour by hour. Each session I have with a work, something has changed, and often the work must reflect that change. I can ignore the change, but then, would that be true to the work or the artist? People who wish nothing to change need to conceive of the work (R&D) and then hire employees to finish it-- like Warhol or Michealangelo. But if you are an individual doing the work, I don't see how something so static, and "dead" is possible. I think that is why I am more into Jazz than Classical.
11-13-2011, 05:36 PM
I'll have to try painting in natural light next time. Yah, I also find that I change so much throughout the painting process, that if I cannot finish a painting in an hour, it will be a crazy variation, me constantly changing ideals about how the painting would look best, by the time I'm finished. But maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.
11-14-2011, 01:00 PM
I haven't noticed a difference between morning painting and. Afternoon painting.
There a certainly times when the painting comes very easily, and other times when it comes hard if at all.
11-15-2011, 07:33 PM
I am so strongly a morning person that I concentrate my work on anything important before, say, 2PM.
And like others have noted here, I prefer to work in one swoop rather than to parcel my work out in little sessions over time.
11-16-2011, 01:53 AM
I don't really think the time of day effects my work as I work primarily under artificial light and have no interest in plein air effects of natural light. I have noticed in the past that my work has been effected by the lighting I work under. The most obvious instance involved a painting begun under florescent light and finished under incandescent bulbs. Looking at it later I could not help but notice the obvious color shift between the area finished under each type of lighting. I tend to work under the same sort of spotlights that I would expect the work to be seen under.
As for how I approach the work, can understand the attraction of working rapidly. I am actually quite good at such an approach because such was part of my education. As students we were pushed to cover the entire canvas within the first hour and have the composition in terms of lines, forms, shapes rapidly established. Although my paintings take months to complete, I tend to establish the composition rapidly in my thumb-nail sketches.
While I may have the general composition locked in within a short period of time and then spend months slowly realizing the finished painting, I should state that this is not some mechanical process. It involves constant creative decisions... constant adjustments (some slight, some extreme) of contours, colors, values, textures, etc... This was equally true of the frescoes of Michelangelo. He certainly employed assistants to transfer the drawings to the plaster, mix colors, prepare the surface, etc... as well as to render areas of secondary concern, such as the large swathes of background color or the repetitive architectural settings, but Michelangelo was involved every step of the way painting all the figures and making continual changes in the work. His working method was far removed from that of Andy Warhol of any mechanical idea of simply rendering an initial idea.
I think what I question is the idea that a work of art can or must be created under some continuity of mindset. Whether a jazz band or a classical orchestra, there is no way that the musicians will all be of a like mind suited to the mood of the music involved... nor any such necessity that the composer was continually of one state of mind while composing the work. In other words, one need not be sad to compose or play a sad tune... or paint a sad painting. No artist who created a work on an epic scale... or even just a scale demanding more than a single session of labor... is going to maintain a given state of mind over the course of the entire painting. My studio mates paints the most tragic images touching upon the Holocaust... often while listening to MJQ and other light jazz and joking with friends.
03-27-2012, 06:59 PM
The time of day has a huge effect on my paintings. I've ruined a lot of paintings by trying to finish them at night - I'm just not creative then. But I plan for that now and do the creative part during the morning and really make a plan for any evening work.
Something much stranger, though: I can't see yellow at night. Yes, the lights are on! So I just can't paint anything that's green or yellow at night, or it will look neon in the morning.
A few years back I went in a submarine and as we went down the water filtered out certain colors. The yellow disappeared first... I wonder if the same thing happens at night (or maybe my eyes are just weird)?
03-28-2012, 01:50 AM
This reminds me of playing guitar, dialing in the perfect sound then tryiing to come back to it. But everything changes so often with myself and surroundings (weather effects tone, so i tell myself). Im learning when ill be able to finish something in multiple sittings cause i usually just work when im on a "good one".
03-28-2012, 05:45 AM
Absolutely. In day I can see subtle color shifts, the difference between a dark plum color with a touch of carbon black versus a dark plum with a touch of paynes gray. Good way to ruin a painting. Even day light can be different, I have an easier time on a sunny day than overcast.
In an ideal world, I only paint during the day, and do photo edits, promotion... at night. In the real world, I sometimes paint at night. I find doing gray underpaintings at night isn't so much of a problem. The whole canvas might be slightly too dark or to light overall, or too jumpy, but these errors are easier to fix in the day than actual color.
03-28-2012, 10:57 AM
I paint almost exclusively at night. I'm feel much more creative at night, and it's about the only time I can steal the time to work anymore. When I see the work I've done the next day, in natural light, I'm usually surprised.
04-01-2012, 10:30 AM
The time of day affects my painting only by affecting my ability to paint. I almost never paint in the morning, because I don't function in mornings and most days don't actually get up in the morning. I'm most likely to paint in the evening by artificial light because at last in this San Francisco room, I have adequate light. The window is only a dim light well so I don't get much daylight no matter what time it is.
Sometimes I paint very late at night because I'm a night person.
If I were outdoors it would matter, but I don't paint outside very often.
Within the painting I often like to use the "golden hour" with long deep shadows and a strong golden glow to the low angle sunlight. Or blue twilight nocturnes. Those are the moods I like best in paintings but it will vary depending on my mood and the subject.
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