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Old 11-01-2008, 03:20 PM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Great thoughts, guys!

Keep it up, keep it coming. (And I'll look up some words, like "shadow plane". I'm pretty sure it isn't the model after the Stealth plane.)

I've finished the demo, *and* edititng the 24 photos... (Really should have done that yesterday...)

I'll get something to eat (dinner), and I'll be back.

Charlie
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:21 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Oops, that was 'Susan Sarbak', I believe.

Mark
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:36 PM
crystaln crystaln is offline
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Re: Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

These are my guesses.
Q 1: How then can we define shadow? What does it consist of?
reflected light.
A. How would you describe the nature of a shadow, be it a cast shadow or a shadow plane? I don't know.
B. What happens to colour in shadow? It deepens and cools

Q 2: What colours do you see in:
1. Top of block? light red
2. Right side of block? Orangy Red Is it the same as...
3. ... left side of block? No - I see violet red
4. Why is it the same/different? Left side has less reflected light. ??
5. blue cloth in sunlight? I see light blue
6. green cloth in sunlight? Looks yellow to me
7. What happens in the cast shadow? Color deepens. Looks like a tint?

Q 3: Why are the wrinkles of the green cloth in shadow yellower/warmer when they face away from the block? They don't have red reflected from the block on to them so their color is more pure.

And here we have the same block in shadow:
Q 4:
a) What are the differences you see between the first in Sun, and this one in Shadow? The one in shadow is cooler and looks like there is blue in it.
b) Describe, if you know, why the block in Shadow looks different? There is no yellow light from the sun shining on it.

And the more advanced questions:
Q 5:
a) What affects our colour-perception of the block-in-Shadow? ?
b) Why are we so certain it is a red block on a blue and a green cloth? Guess I'm not advanced.

Were these samples a surprise, or had you expected them? I was surprised at the gray swatches.
Crystal
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:03 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Chapter 2

Colour, Terminology, and Painting stage 1


First, let’s get on the same page regarding colour. There is a basically very simple system that is described by many – Michael Wilcox, for example. Instead of using fancy or fantasy names for colours, we’ll use the simple Yellow, Orange, Red, Violet, Blue, Green. We can easily simplify that to Y, O, R, V, B, G.

A colour wheel:



We take the colour wheel, and simply split it down the middle, and we call the Yellows to Reds “Warm”, and we call the Violets to Greens “Cool”. The reason for this is that the ‘warm’ group visually comes forward, and the ‘cool’ group visually recedes.

You can test this by taking a coloured paper, and I advice a mid-dark blue (or darkish gray), and draw little patches with your sticks. Be sure to cover the paper within the small patches, with the Y, O, R, V, B, G colours. Look at them with relaxed eyes, and you’ll see the warms visually hovering above the surface of the paper, while the cools rest firmly on the paper. There will be some that lie halfway between, usually yellow-greens and cool roses, red violets.

The Warm colours do actually advance visually. It is not just what ‘they’ say, or a metaphor. And we will make use of this.

We will also use the fact that visually, the brightest/lightest colours are in the yellow/green area.

The warm colours represent Light, and the cool colours represent Shadow. (This is by no means an absolute, but let’s keep it simple for now.)

One more thing on the colour-wheel: the colours between all of YORVBG. We will avoid names like “Lemon yellow” or “Permanent Rose”, or “Aqua”. We’ll make life easier by saying “green-Yellow”, and “violet-Red”. Several reasons for this will become clear as we proceed.

The construction of these words are thus: The part after the “-“ is the hue, Red. But it leans towards violet (or blue, if you prefer the even more simplified version with only the 3 primaries), so we call it a violet-leaning-Red, or violet-Red for short. It is much like the topmost red to the left in our divided circle, or, as in the case of Rembrandt pastels, I refer to the Permanent Rose. Violet-Red.

Which is not the same as red-Violet, its neighbor on the cool side. We do, after all, see a difference. We can agree it is a colour somewhere between Red and Blue, which is a Violet. It is leaning toward, or we may say, is more related to, red, than it is to blue. A red-leaning Violet = red-Violet.

That Lemon Yellow will be a yellow that leans/is related towards green. We can visibly see that it most certainly does not lean towards orange. It isn’t “unleaning”, that would be pure Yellow. But we do see a slight greenish tinge, so it is a green-leaning Yellow = green-Yellow.

Q 1: How would you describe “Aqua”, in these terms? Forest Green? Olive Green? Magenta? Ultramarine? Fire-engine Red? Cadmium Red light? Scarlet?

This system is simple and precise. You only need to remember 6 colours. You don’t have to know a lot of theory, as you can see it with your own eyes. Perception, it’s all in the perception.

So, let’s paint!

Stage One – In which we lay the base and set the light

First we make a simplified drawing. I’ve extended the lines of the block so that the corners will be sharp. Before painting, I use a kneaded eraser to take away most of the lines that stick out. Ordinarily, I'd have used a paler pastel pencil to make this "skeleton drawing", but it needs to be clearly visible in this demonstration.



(You can save this pic, enlarge it, print it out, and trace it, so you don’t have to struggle with drawing-issues. Blocks are surprisingly difficult to draw, but they are very easy to paint.)

We will not use local colour for our starts. We will first look at the colour of the light. As this is a photo and hard to see, I tell you that it is a rather pure yellow sunlight, from a clear blue sky.

I start with the darkest dark. That is the short side of the block, but the long side is so very similar in colour, so I will paint it with the same colour (as we have a limited palette.) I can’t start it with red, as red is a colour from the half of the colour-wheel that represents light, so I will have to find a colour in the Cool shadow side of the wheel. I choose Violet. I fill it in all the way to the edges, as we paint in pastels which is not a ‘runny’ paint. (Same for oil-pastels.) Then I rub it into the paper with my finger. I want a solid enough base of colour, and I want to preserve the tooth of the paper. (Don’t rub for “king and country”, you don’t want to “iron out” the tooth or deposit too much of finger-oil.)

Laying down Violet:



(Fun detail: Look at the shadows of the stick. There is a window to my right letting in the blue light from the sky, and a yellowy daylight incandescent bulb in a lamp to my left.)

Rubbed in Violet:



The next, lighter, darks, slightly lighter, are in the up-facing planes of the cloths. We start with the cast shadows. They get all their light from the sky. As the light from the sky is blue, I choose a purple-Blue (Ultramarine), for the blue cloth in shadow, as I want to save the green-Blue (Turquoise) for the green cloth.

The green cloth in shadow can start with either a blue-Green, or a green-Blue, or a Blue. Colours who all have the word “blue” in them. (Violet also has blue in it, as it is a red-Blue if we only count the primaries, but we have already used that one for the block.) A yellow-green isn’t really perfect here, as the light from the sky is so very blue, and as it is too brightly close to the local colour. So I choose a green-Blue, the Turqoise.



Now we have set the light for this scene, by filling in all the shadow-masses. Yes, it is the deepness of the shadows that determine how light and bright we think that the lights are when we look at a painting. That is the reason we paint the shadow-masses first.


Now, the lights:

I start with the brightest light-mass that has the strongest colour/hue. That is the red block in light, the top plane of it. So, if I’m to generally avoid local colour in the first colour-statements, I have to look into the light and determine what it leans towards. But I can’t stare at the top of the block, I know I only have about 2-3 seconds before the eye gets ‘overloaded’ with the colour and starts to produce the complementary colour. (If someone knows the URL where there is a demo of this, post it.) So I gently let my eyes scan the scene, from side to side. I become sure that there is a strong yellow component in the top of the block, so I will start it either Yellow, orange-Yellow, or Orange. But which one? The block is fairly dark and deep in colour, and not too reflective, so I start it Orange.

Green cloth in light is definitely looking like a pale yellow, so the Lemon Yellow... ooops! ... the green-Yellow is perfect. It is the lightest of the full-strength hues we have, too. (I may have accidentally grabbed the ArtSpectrum lemon yellow, it is a bit more intense.)

So what do we do with baby-blue cloth in light? We’ve used green-Yellow and Orange. We still have the orange-Yellow, but it would become muted and greenish with some blue over it in the next steps. It is far from blue on the colour-wheel, too. If I follow the edge of the colour-wheel, I find that one of the nearest light-colours to blue is Red, or to be more precise, a violet-Red, so I choose Permanent Rose, but here I will have to use a whitened version, a tint. So I pick a pale rose, a whitened violet-Red for the blue cloth in light. Why not pick a light blue, or even a yellow-Green? Because the blue is a cool colour, and in these first statements, the cools are reserved for the shadows. Had I started the light blue with a light blue, it would have looked out of place in the painting, as it would have looked like a shadow-mass, albeit light. Yellow-Green is still on the cool, shadow, side of the wheel, though I admit it can be very warm, but then it is also duller, because there is a red component in it. We want pure and strong colours, for setting the light.



(Fun thing: see how the blue shadows on the right side of the sticks are getting duller as the day gets later.)

Now we have the base upon which to build. We’ve set the light-key.

This should keep you busy for a while, and I’ll look at some replies.

(Continues in post further down in the thread, headed in the post as "Stage 2"....)

Charlie
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Last edited by Colorix : 11-01-2008 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:25 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Hi again,

First, this class will not be this technical forever. We are covering most of it today. So do re-read these posts, when you need and want to. It is not possible to take it all in in one go, believe me, I know that more than well.

My idea was to put it all together in one place, for reference.

Thank you for asking about “shadow planes”, I may rather often be uncertain of precise terms, English not being my native language. I checked “shadow plane”. It obviously has several meanings. The one I’m using is based on each side of an object being a plane. Very easy to see in a block on a flat surface. There we have only two planes: the upfacing, (top of block, top of table/surface) and the vertical/perpendicular planes (of the sides of the block). The planes that are in shadow are – shadow planes!


Now, I've read your great and thoughtful answers to the questions I posed, and here follows my own thoughts on them. You can read it as the 'right' answers, but I don't claim to know all. It's simply what's in my head.


Q-and-A from the introduction

We have light and shadows as the basic elements of a lit scene. We all know what light is. But...

Q 1: How then can we define shadow? What does it consist of?
A. How would you describe the nature of a shadow, be it a cast shadow or a shadow plane?
B. What happens to colour in shadow?


My answer: Generally, darkness is absence of light. But, as we can see what is within a ‘normal’ shadow, there actually is light there, but a lesser light, or several weaker lights. The shadow is ‘cast’ by the opaque object between a surface and the main source of light.
Colour in shadow becomes darker and duller. When the light source emits warm light, the colours in the shadows will generally be cool. So when a blue sky is the secondary light source, then the shadows will take on a decidedly blue hue, which can be very bright, btw, if the surface within the cast shadow is white. As always, there are general guidelines, but observation and perception will tell you what colours there are in that particular place at that particular time, and season, and weather.



Q 2: What colours do you see in:
1. Top of block?
2. Right side of block? Is it the same as...
3. ... left side of block?
4. Why is it the same/different?
5. blue cloth in sunlight?
6. green cloth in sunlight?
7. What happens in the cast shadow?


Q2: Well thought out, ladies and gentlemen. It was important to make you observe and think, and you did that in a great way!

And one more tricky question, a bit more advanced:
Q 3: Why are the wrinkles of the green cloth in shadow yellower/warmer when they face away from the block?


My answer: Because there is a highly reflective surface behind and to the right of us. I shot the pic close to the house, not thinking of the large windows there. They send warm reflected sunlight into our set-up, so the larger shadow-plane of the block looks very warm and comparatively light. This reflected sunlight nearly, but doesn’t, overpower the blue light from the sky. Normally, this face of the block would have been darker than the one to the left, as the left one would’ve gotten reflected light from the cloth in light. Again, observation will tell you the truth – you might *know* that this side is darker, generally, but ask yourself if that is what you *really see*. (Pedagogical, eh?)

Here is a pic of the same block, on the same cloths, but with the lights burned out. See how blue the cast shadows look. And how the right vertical side of the block is indeed darker than the left. I personally block the reflected light from the windows, as I’m shooting the pic. That means there is less dulling yellow and red reflected light in the shadows, which makes them purer, bluer, more intense.





Q 4:
a) What are the differences you see between the first in Sun, and this one in Shadow?
b) Describe, if you know, why the block in Shadow looks different?


Again, you thought and replied really well!


4a: Great answers, and as I asked you what *you* see... well, I can’t give the key.

My answer to 4b: The main light source, the blue sky, will affect every colour. It is also a weaker light, albeit larger (relatively) than the sunlight, so objects will be of a darker (and bluer) value on the lit planes. Still, most of the light from the sky ‘beams’ down from above, so that is why we still have differences in value: the vertical planes get less light than the up-facing planes.

And the more advanced questions:
Q 5:
a) What affects our colour-perception of the block-in-Shadow?
b) Why are we so certain it is a red block on a blue and a green cloth?


My answers:

5a): all that blue light from the sky. Yes, it sits in a cast shadow out on my lawn. Shadow is cast by lilacs, btw.

5b): Yes, our eyes are highly adaptive, and so are our brains. We ‘get used to’ coloured light, and the brain ‘filters it out’. But we also are very adapted and used to seeing things in blue light from the sky, so we have subconsciously observed and taken note of how a colour changes perceptually, and there is a wee editor in our heids that colour-corrects what we see, before sending it to the conscious mind. In short, our brains *know* how it should be.

Compare our knowledge of blue light to orange light, seen in some types of street lamps. It is almost impossible to tell un-known colours. My coat may be blue, but if I didn’t know, I’d not be able to tell.

Next post will be Stage 2 of the Paint-along-demo

Charlie
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:37 PM
Judibelle Judibelle is offline
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

WOW...what a lot for this ol' dog to absorb. But I'm tryin' to learn the new tricks....distinguishing warm from cool, & what the names mean (violet-Red, for instance..). Finding it most informative...
So I think Aqua would be a blue-Green; Forest Green, not sure ; Olive green, a yellow-green; Magenta, a blue-Violet; Ultramarine, a violet-Blue?
Fire-engine red, an orange-Red? cadmium red Light, not sure; Scarlet red, a purple-Red?
Sheesh, I have a lot to learn!
JB
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:18 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

JB, doing great! Yes, my point is that it isn't easy to keep track of all those names of colours, you got it!

And remember, you most certainly do not have to absorb all this right now! Refer back to it. We will take it step by step.

You can *see* if a red is closer to orange, or if it is closer to violet.

And guys, do ask. I *know* this is a lot. I've tried to be as clear as possible in the demo, but I've been working with this system so much that while I do remember being a newbie, I still may rush on too quickly.

Actually, I was the *slowest* to catch it, in the workshop that introduced all this. *Everybody* else was painting furiously, and I stood there... It passed. Just took me a bit more time.

Charlie
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:35 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Oh wow. Thanks for all the complex posts! I appreciate your using the simpler color system, it'll let me use certain sets that don't have labeled colors.

Your demo is so different from what I did. Even though I used bright colors I just vaguely matched them to what I had and didn't go for full saturated hues especially in the green (yellow-looking) cloth. I'm looking forward to doing this again your way. I bet it'll come out looking a lot better -- and would have been lots faster than what I did.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:51 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Stage 2 of the Paint-along-Demo -- in which we "make colour right"

Stage 2

Here is where I, in my simple language, “make the colours right”. In some cases, I apply ‘local colour’, and in others, what is needed. We’ll go into what that means as we go along.

I like to start with the background. Here it is the cloths in light and the cloths in shadow. I ask: What do I need to add to make the colour more right? Or, what is the most obvious colour I need to apply now?

The blue cloth in light would obviously need some blue, so I choose the blue that is closest to the coolish pink... that is, the whitened violet-Red.... namely an Ultramarine blue tint, a whitened violet-Blue. These will go well together, as both have the name ‘violet’ in them. Laying the piece of the pastel on its side, I lightly scumble blue over the pink. There, it now looks much more like blue, but is glowing with light.



At this stage, I still scumble. You can also hatch and crosshatch, but that does take longer time to do, much longer than scumbling ‘broadside’. (Oilies may have to be hatched and crosshatched – you oil-pastellists would know.)

You can also blend with your fingers, if you want to. Personally I prefer to not blend. It is a matter of personal taste what you choose to do, it is not a question of right and wrong.

Now the green cloth in light. I discover that it got too brightly yellow for that pale washed-out very yellow green that is the real cloth. So I use my white stick to lighten it, scumbling over it with the stick’s side. ( I’ll use all sticks on their sides. I’ll tell you when I change manner.) Then I use the lightest tint of the yellow-Green, and scumble that on top of the others. Lightly, so I don’t fill the tooth of the paper. Hm, no, it needs further dulling down with the lightest of the Red. And a little bit more of the lightest yellow-green on top of that, to even out and re-establish the green.

Go very lightly, so some of the tooth remains. If you’ve applied to thickly, use a workable fixative to bind the layers. Spray lightly, so you don’t actually wet the pastel dust.

See the above picture for how it looks.

Here is a pic of the sticks:



(Yes, that's a white... as a part of it has fallen off, everything gets caught in it.)

Next I deal with the cast shadows. In plural, as we have both cloths visible there, and I treat them as two different colour-masses.

The blue cloth is a bit greenish, to my eyes, so I lightly apply a dark green, a yellow-green, and then I go over it with the violet-blue again.

The green cloth in shadow gets a light layer of the yellow-green, and I dull it with the orange, very light pressure. To dull it further, the tint of Ultramarine (the ,7), the violet-Blue goes over that.






Now the shadow sides of the block needs to get more red, and more dull. I take the red that is closest to violet, the violet-Red, and apply it to the both sides:



Then I need to separate the two sides of the block, and on the right side I apply Orange. Look, there is already a clear difference between right and left! Good! So I apply the Red over the orange, to cool it slightly:



The only spot we’ve not touched is the top of the block. I want more light there, so a touch of the Yellow brightens it. A bit of the Red tint puts it back in the red category, but all the others shimmer through:




Oh, your paintings will not look exactly like these pics, as I've not colour-corrected them in PS. The last few will be colour-corrected.

Unless I’ve forgotten something, that completes the second stage of “making colour right”.

And, Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm tired (it's past midnight here), and starting to make too many mistakes, so I'll continue tomorrow.

The third stage will be named “Stage 3”. (What a surprise.... )

Charlie
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:07 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Here's my second go just copying what you did on the first layer. The pink in the background is a bit colder than it looks. My orange was much more toward yellow so I put a little red blended in it. My aqua was much closer to green so I put a little blue blended in it.

In the scan, the colors are a bit off despite much playing with it in Gimp. It actually looks closer to the hues you have shown.

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Mont Marte (handy) pastels on sketchbook.
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:11 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

here is my little sketch hope it was okay to do this one ... and please excuse the messiness of it ..

---

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Old 11-01-2008, 10:43 PM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Charlie,

I hope you are getting a good rest...dreaming in color

Your explanation of your color choices is so clear and really makes sense!

Tracy
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:48 AM
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Charlie, this is a great class. I've done a sketch 'before' and then another following your instructions.
Sketch#1 - done before Charlie's instructions on 'how-to'


Sketch#2 - after Charlie's 'how-to'
I must admit that I don't have the full palette that you have detailed in Stage 1, Charlie, so I have had to improvise. This photo has washed out the greens and I don't have Photoshop to fix it, but they are there! Also, photo taken tonight so colours not the best anyway.


This is fun Charlie. I look forward to the next lesson!
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:00 AM
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Re: Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

Q 1: How then can we define shadow? What does it consist of? The shadow on the cloth is a combination of the color of the cloths and the reflected light from the block.
A. How would you describe the nature of a shadow, be it a cast shadow or a shadow plane? I'm not sure what you are asking here. The shadow on the cloth is a cast shadow and the shadows on the block are shadowed planes. I guess, all shadows could really be described as planes.
B. What happens to colour in shadow?
Colors in shadow lose the intensity the had in the light.

Here is an example of a red block in sunlight, sitting on a pale blue cloth, and a pale yellow-green cloth:



First, please consider this: How would you ordinarily go about painting this simple still-life? Which sticks of pastel would you have used to make the lights and the shadows?

Q 2: What colours do you see in:
1. Top of block? A warm orange
2. Right side of block? A more muted, slightly cooler orange Is it the same as...Some areas are ALMOST the same as the top and some are ALMOST the same as the left side.
3. ... left side of block? A much duller, grayer, more neutral orange.
4. Why is it the same/different? Lack of light intensity and reflected light
5. blue cloth in sunlight? The cloth in sunlight is lighter and warmer.
6. green cloth in sunlight? Same as above
7. What happens in the cast shadow?
I am seeing complimentary colors in the shadows as well as combinations of the local color of the cloths and refections from the block.

And one more tricky question, a bit more advanced:
Q 3: Why are the wrinkles of the green cloth in shadow yellower/warmer when they face away from the block? They are facing the souce of the light.

And here we have the same block in shadow:



What colour is it? (Duh!, you may think, “it is red, the same as before, does she think we’re dumb or what!? “) Of course you’re smart and talented, but I want you to actually see, not just ‘know’. Compare it to the one in Sunlight.

Q 4:
a) What are the differences you see between the first in Sun, and this one in Shadow? The colors are not as washed out. The blue cloth is obviously blue here and looks gray in the one in the light. The yellow cloth is bluer/cooler. The block is deeper, duller and flatter looking than the one in the sun.
b) Describe, if you know, why the block in Shadow looks different?
Without a direct light source there is less definition and tonal values become much closer.

And the more advanced questions:
Q 5:
a) What affects our colour-perception of the block-in-Shadow? Are these different ways of asking the same question or am I in a rut? <-thinking out loud here. A more muted light source, less reflection.
b) Why are we so certain it is a red block on a blue and a green cloth?
You've stumped me there! Ah! After looking at the swatched below I think the answer would be that I remembered it was red in the light. In other words, I did not look at it for what I actually saw but went by memory. Shame on me! Had I seen it in shadow first, I may have identified it closer to a brown or maroon.



You’ll find parts of the answers in these isolated samples taken from the photos:



Block-in-Sunlight: These patches are in the order of:
Red block (pretty obvious, eh?) and from up down green cloth in light, and shadow, and blue cloth in distant light, shadow, and near light.
Remember, this is what the camera recorded. The eye in real life will see much more colour in the shadows.

Patches of Block-in-Shadow:



Block-in Shadow: Patches in order of:
Red block: top and below the sides. Next vertical row is green cloth far away from block and under is near block. Blue cloth: The top blue is distant, and bottom blue is near.

Were these samples a surprise, or had you expected them? Yes very, sad to say! What a great & valuable lesson!!!
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:43 AM
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sekulastudio sekulastudio is offline
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Re: Exploring Soft Pastels Class: Still-Life the Colourful Way!

OOPS! Thought this would go under the first part of the lesson. I looked at "edit" to see if it could be moved but I don't see that option. Charlie, do you wnt me to just delete it?
Sorry this is so terribly out of order.
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"Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you." Henri-Frédéric Amiel

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