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Old 02-01-2018, 12:16 AM
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The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Welcome artists!

Here is a quick recap of what The Spotlight is all about!

The Spotlight is an activity thread for pastel artists of all experience levels working from photos chosen by a monthly host. Most months, the host will choose photos from only one subject, putting that subject into “the spotlight,” so to speak! For example, one month the subject will be painting water, another month will spotlight flowers, etc.

Some months, rather than spotlight a subject, the focus will be on a challenge of some sort. In those cases, we might have a wider variety of photo references, but “the spotlight” will be on the challenge itself.

Since this is a group activity, we can pool our knowledge and resources, and grow as artists in a fun, “no-pressure” atmosphere.

And, remember, no critiques unless specifically asked for.

The intent is to have fun, try new things, experiment, and perhaps most of all, to see what our friends and colleagues are painting from the same reference material!

Please note: The photos this month were taken by me or are from the Reference Image Library. You have permission to use the photos as reference to create your artwork and to sell them and/or exhibit them. The actual photos still retain the copyright of the photographer. So you cannot copy the photo to your blog, for example, without the permission of the photographer, or digitally alter or reproduce the photo for any purpose other than for your personal use, with the exception of crops, digital alterations and posts of these photos within "The Spotlight" thread.

This month’s Spotlight is on…Luminosity!

The world around us is filled with light! As painters, the light is often one of the most important aspects that attracts us to a scene. And yet, one of the challenges painters face, is trying to depict light in especially luminous scenes, or in skies - which in reality often have a glow that is difficult to replicate with paints.

Of course, through the years, artists have developed various techniques to try and capture the luminosity of the real world. This month we'll put the Spotlight on Luminosity!

A few years ago, Richard McKinley wrote a really good article on trying to create luminosity with pastel. Rather than try and paraphrase the information, I'll let Richard's article speak for itself! Here's a link:

https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-m...re-luminosity/

Pastels are a good medium to use when trying to create luminosity using colors of similar value. You can lay colors next to each other or very lightly glaze one color over another allowing the bottom color to show through. And with pastels, since we often have so many sticks, it may be easy to find sticks that are not only similar in value, but fairly close in hue as well, in case we really don’t want to use very different colors in trying to create luminous areas. Sometimes - if you plan it well - you can also use the color of the paper to help create luminosity. The paper color can serve as another color in the mix, so to speak, when using colors of similar value to create luminosity.

A few months ago we had a Spotlight that featured some works by contemporary painter Bill Cone. When I looked at many of his paintings, I was very impressed with the amount of luminosity that they contained. If we take a look at some of his paintings, I think we'll see that he often uses colors of similar value in the same area to create luminosity. I think you will notice this especially in areas of atmospheric shadows.





Another artist that was quite interested in painting light and luminosity was...Claude Monet (surprise, surprise)! In many ways, that was what Monet's brand of impressionism was all about! Take a look at how many different colors he puts into his various areas.



It is hard to see how many colors might be in the luminous areas of these paintings. We’re looking at small reproductions, after all, and not the actual paintings at full size. Here’s an example of a nice luminous sky from an Edgar Payne oil painting. It looks like he has both blues and pinks in that sky. Adding pinks into blue skies seems to be a popular technique.



Here's another article by Richard McKinley where he discusses the luminous paintings of Loriann Signori:

https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-m...ion-for-light/

And here is a nice luminous painting by Loriann Signori:



Lots of colors of similar value in various areas of this painting!

Here's another short article on painting luminous skies - concentrating on both values and edges.

https://www.paintingclass.net/luminous-skies/

Sometimes creating more luminosity in your skies may be accomplished by just using lighter values for the sky, as this artist discovered:

https://woodwardsimons.com/blog/2917...luminous-skies

It is very easy to create skies that are too dark. Often, we don't have enough really light and bright colors in our pastel collections. At other times, we may be too concerned about the color of the sky and lose track of the value - or maybe when choosing the correct color, we don't have that color in a light enough value. Sometimes decisions must then be made as to which is more important, the color or the value! It’s those darn decisions that need to be made that make painting difficult, after all!

Please keep in mind that the paintings shown by Bill Cone and Loriann Signori are copyrighted and used here for education purposes. Please do not copy or reproduce them.

OK, time for the references!

(all photos by me)

Long time Spotlight members may recognize this scene...















As always, feel free to modify the references if you wish! And have fun experimenting with luminosity!

Don
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Old 02-01-2018, 05:09 AM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

My pastels are dancing in their boxes, impatient to begin. Thank you
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:04 AM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Wonderful topic this month! Thank you for the link to the article. I've always loved this effect. The first place I noticed it was in the backgrounds of famous illustrator Frank Frazetta. He'd have a jungle scene on an alien planet, full of strange colors in foliage anyway, but the more distant trees and vines were just silhouettes against a colorful sky that was any color. Or backlit caves with heroes battling monsters, the ones in the back of the mob faded to the same value as the light from the invisible source - usually green or something because he was doing spooky cavern settings. He used that effect in all of his paintings one way or another, especially when he was depicting cool stuff outside the action.

I was sometimes more interested in the trees than the brawny heroes and curvy heroines. How did he make me feel like I was in the jungles of Venus and not mistake them for jungle in Costa Rica?

I didn't understand then that if you want a pink sky or a yellow sky, just paint it that way, people will believe purple trees and a pink sky with yellow bits easily without thinking they're on another planet. What those old illustrators had was an excuse not to get literal, or maybe occasionally a prompt "the author said the sky is orange so do that." I don't think they always read the books - sometimes they contradicted author descriptions dramatically. But they usually managed to make the setting recognizable.

It took me much longer to understand that "make the heroine blonde" came from upstairs no matter how many times the author mentioned her raven locks. This always annoyed me since I liked black haired heroines better. But illustrators have to bow to "blondes sell more books."

And blondes get backlit in those covers sometimes to connect with the luminosity of the sky even if it's not yellow.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:00 AM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Great lesson Don! I will try to work on luminosity and post!
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:55 PM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

A tough morning in the trenches...out of comfort zone. This is 11 x 14 on white Pastel Premier extra fine. Pastels are some Unison, a few Terry Ludwig. a few Nupastel. This is Don's reference, cut down. Thank you Don.

All comments welcome. I think the lower left needs more sky blue. What else?

Thanks for looking.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:49 PM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Beautiful! It's like I can hear the Common Loons calling to me. Now that's a weird thought, for sure, but this painting piques my imagination. Yes, I would darken that lower left corner a bit. So your instinct is spot on. Well done!
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:07 PM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Jay, Very nice! Very atmospheric!

Don
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:28 AM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Hmmmm, Karen. A pair of loons on the lake. That’s a thought! Thanks for commenting. The colors are lovely IRL. Did not photograph well..salmon in the sky. I like that loon thought!

Thanks Don. I think I need to darken the tree shadows on the left also. Do you agree? Just a bit? I always rush to post. As if a painting would melt!
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Old 02-06-2018, 02:36 PM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Beautiful. Love the feeling there.
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Old 02-07-2018, 10:36 AM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Lovely and serene. And, yes, it reminds me of the lake where I stayed in a cabin for a weekend in Ontario, where I actually heard the Loon calling in the night! I'll never forget that. We don't get them here in Norfolk, England.
My take, going by your photo, is that the water is lighter then the sky and could do with darkening, but using all the lovely reflection colours. You can see it in real life though so please ignore if not relevant!
I made a start on the horse and rider, putting them in an imaginary background of mountains and conifers, the idea being that they are riding through a river in the valley. Sigh....it's not yet in the bin but I'm thinking it may be......I need to work hard on m y drawing skills!
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:40 PM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Thank you Robert.

Ruthie. Don’t bin it!!! Think what we could learn from your critique of your own. You may not see hidden beauty which will make the louvre ready to bid on it!!! (I hear you about drawing..fat pastels. So hard.)
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:08 AM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Ruthie, I forgot to say THANK YOU for the critique which I appreciate so much.

Of course I'm timid but I tried to darken the lower corner, the tree shadow..but I was afraid any "tricky" area there would draw the eye too much. I don't do much but I got blue into the lower corners. How does it look now? I think I got better color in this photograph. Hope it shows up. All comments welcome and appreciated.
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:59 AM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

That's really nice, Jay, and I like the changes you made. The colors are so soft and serene and you did such a great job with suggesting the slight movement of the water where it breaks up the reflection of the trees.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:42 PM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

Thanks Donna. The colors are so much prettier IRL. I thought purple was the difficult color to photograph. I didn’t know salmon was also.

I think I could have gone a wee bit darker in lower left but I was afraid to ruin it.

The question is, three colors, like values, in sky and water..does it show luminosity or did the colors have to be laid on in splotches? There is a good bit of white showing through. Perhaps I should try with a paper that is the same color as two other pastels.

I like it from across the room.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:00 PM
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Re: The Spotlight - February 2018 - Luminosity

I think you got a good feeling of luminosity, Jay, and I'm not sure if it matters how the pastel was applied. In this case I think the white showing through is a good thing - it adds to the feeling of light reflecting off the water and sparkling. If you only used one color or blended several completely together you would have dampened that glowing effect. When you like your work from across the room it's a good thing. When you like your work from across the room in very low light it's even better!
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