While shadows are a delight to perceive, they can be troublesome to paint, in particular from the aspect of color. Beginners tend to paint shadows using black pigment. The Impressionist Renoir is quoted as saying "“No shadow is black. It always has a color. Nature knows only colors and… white and black are not colors".” So if black was to be banished from their palettes, what did the Impressionists use for shadows?
How the Impressionists changed the colors we use to paint shadows.
Working from the then-relatively new theory of complementary colors, the logical color to use was violet, being the complementary of yellow, the color of sunlight. Monet said: “Color owes its brightness to force of contrast rather than to its inherent qualities …primary colors look brightest when they are brought into contrast with their complementaries.” The Impressionists created violet by glazing cobalt blue or ultramarine with red, or by using new cobalt and manganese violet pigments that had become available to artists.
This week's lesson will look at tree shadows on snow, with students using creative color to paint their chosen scene.
Welcome to my blog, about my classes and activities at Cedar Lane Studio. Feel free to comment (but don't be mean :(