Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter Midday Light

Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson
The man who does not care says "a day is a day." For the artist, there are many differences in a day, even between one time of day and another. In "poetic" terms, we have the following: the pearly or roseate morning; the waxing light of forenoon; the glaire of midday; the gold of the afternoon; the descending quiet of evening, and the mystery of night.

These terms are suggestive of certain elemental truths and are based on physical fact. The morning, for instance, is never a riot of burning colors. The cause is simple: during the night the air is cooled and condensed; the sun upon rising shines through these pearly vapors and the color scheme produced is one of light airiness--pale blues, pinks, grays, silvery greens. On clear nights the dew falls heavily, and the sun rising upon dew-laden meadows is a thing to be remembered. The very heavy orange light of late afternoon that accentuates the complementary purple in the shadows is another thing entirely.

Each has its emotional potentiality. So has each hour of the day its own appeal: to the artist it is a gamut of delgiht. The budding landscape painter will not lose anything through quiet contemplative study of these.


Donna T said...

Very nice painting, Donna! What are your thoughts on midday light? I usually avoid it but you seem to have found it inspiring. Maybe your large vistas (unlike my views) give you more opportunity to focus on distance and atmosphere? My attempts at midday paintings are always disastrous since the overhead light does nothing to reveal the forms of the things I paint.

Donna Van Tuyl said...

Hi Donna and thank you. I also avoid midday light when at all possible, simply because it is so difficult to paint. In winter the sun or light hangs low on the horizon all day long. The light in winter is wonderful and sometimes harsh, but beautiful. I think that high key paintings are beautiful if you can paint them. So I guess my advice if you like would be to keep trying. I am still working on this winter light idea and not quite sure I am getting the feel of it quite yet, but my John F. Carlson book is helping to keep me inspired to try.