Thursday, February 10

Paint in the Sunshine!

Sun-Face, Acrylic on Canvas
Copyright 2010

During the winter months in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, it's probably difficult for you to get the right light on your subject. That is, in whatever location you paint, the light is not the most optimal for your creative muse.

That is an issue with artists. You can’t paint in bad light. That’s really all there is to it.

What to do?

Well, since my “work station” has only one, sort-of-large, west-facing window, I paint only during the hours of the day when the outdoor light is at its most intense—usually about 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Some of you may call me lazy and shiftless for painting for just three hours a day. Whatever. It lets me see my work in the best natural light available. (That time does increase to about five hours during the summertime, so there).

Now, of course, when even the outdoor light isn’t enough to illuminate my masterpiece, I do turn on all the lights available. However, since I have primarily incandescent lighting, it will take similar lighting to view my work exactly as I envision it. Just so you know, I do have one of those “natural” lights that are supposed to let you view your work as if it were in natural daylight; however, it’s not bright enough to really light up the space (and I won’t even discuss the cost of those lamps.)

The solution, therefore, is to just buck it up, go outside, and paint in the sunshine—plein air style.

Now you may have to dress for the occasion and stock up on a few outdoors-y supplies, but just do it. You will be the happier for it and refreshed and probably healthier, too.

And if you’re like Edward Hopper, who, as we all know, only wanted to “paint the sunlight on the side of a house,” your work will be the better for it.

Happy Painting!

Until next blog…

1 comment:

  1. Smart thinking. I use the Ott lights and you are right. They aren't bright enough. I can't help but wonder how often our paintings will be viewed in daylight anyway.