- Lesson Details
A light effect is determined by the position of the sun in relation to the landscape painting scene. A scene with the sun behind you will look vastly different than a scene with the sun directly in front of you. In this lesson, you will learn about the different types of light effects created by the position of the sun, and how they affect the value relationships in your scene.
Landscape painting in a studio compared to painting on-location are completely different experiences, each with their own set of challenges to face. Painting landscapes on-location means you’re faced with constantly changing natural lighting, as well as nature, but the experience itself can really make your inspiration flow.
In this painting course, Artist Ben Fenske teaches you the fundamentals of landscape painting through a series of lessons. These lessons include easy to follow instruction, analysis of famous landscape paintings, and demonstrations shot on-location, to help you better your painting skills.
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you're looking at a certain light affect, things to watch out for.
I'm also going to talk about the position of the sun relative to
me or to the painter.
So you always want to be aware of where the sun is and you always want
to be aware of what kind of light effect that you're painting.
So part of that has to has to do with what time it is, a part
of it has to do with the weather, and part of it has to do with
where the sun is relative to you.
So is the sun in front of you, behind you, is it to the side?
And is it - did the sun just come up over the horizon or is it noon?
So all these things you should develop a sort of library in your mind of all
these different effects and what you might expect to see.
I want to do a few of the common light effects and talk a little bit
about each of them.
and talk a little bit about what you might expect.
And let's just see, I'll just -
maybe I'll start here. Start her, do a little sunset scene.
So when we talk about a sunset,
we’re going to have to talk about the sky colors again.
And I've already talked a little bit about a simplified sky gradation.
Now, I'm going to talk about slightly more complicated sky gradation that you can apply to
any sky and you can especially see it during sunrises or sunsets.
And sunrise and sunsets are really the same thing.
So I just need to talk a little bit about that sky gradation
and then talk about the general effect
of a sunset. So I'm just going to sketch in a scene first.
And maybe I'll go back to the idea of the house
over here and some sort of a house and maybe a tree. Just want to have
some land but have lots of sky for this one.
Maybe I'll put in a few more trees.
And maybe I'll put in a little body of water back there as well.
Okay, so I've got my scene sketched inn.
Important thing to remember when you're painting a sunset is that it's on a value -thinking about values
it’s kind of the sky
versus everything else. It's a big division there.
It's - that's the main contrast and really the only contrast in the painting is land and
sky. And in this case,
I'm imagining that the sun just went below the horizon,
which is here. And so it will be hitting the bottom of the clouds or the
the bottom plane of the clouds are the under plane of the clouds.
I'm going to sketch in some clouds and some under planes.
I'll sketch in some small clouds, some big clouds.
Okay. So let's just look at everything that's not sky right now and just imagine that
this is one value category.
just to start to imagine the - how the values are going to work in this painting.
So, it's land versus sky right here,
And everything on land is going to be in shadow because the sunset and
the sky is going to be illuminated by the sun that's already over the horizon
and the clouds, some of them will have shadows
but they will be now on the side planes not the under planes.
And the other planes will be illuminated now.
And I'll make a few cirrus clouds and a few cumulus clouds again.
Okay, so let's talk about the they more complex version of a sky gradation.
This is actually pretty easy to remember.
Here's the horizon. So here's the land.
And again, I want to divide the sky into different horizontal bands.
In this case, they're going to go from violet at the bottom
see you have violet,
red, orange, yellow, green, and blue and again,
they're going to be starting out
smaller or narrower at the bottom and getting bigger as they go up.
So it’s a general way of thinking about the sky. This works on a blue sky
in the middle of the day, this works on a sunset this works on any type
of sky. It's also the same way that a rainbow works,
for example, that it goes in the same order, the colors follow that same order.
Now on a sunset every night or every sunset is very different if you've ever
been in a place and watched a sunset night after night,
they're very different because they depend a lot on the weather conditions, the amount of water
in the air, the clouds.
All kinds of factors. So they can be very different.
You can have one sunset or the whole sky appears to be yellow orange.
You can have another one where there's more obvious gradation, one of these gradations.
You can have everything shift to the red.
Lots of different possibilities. So I'm just going to try to do one and just hit
the main points, the illuminated other under sides of the clouds and the general gradation.
Okay, so I'm going to paint in first,
I'm going to paint in a little bit of the land
and some of the clouds. And then I will paint
the sky around it. So I got a little house here, a little road,
a little pond back there, some trees.
Okay. I'm also going to think about how to key it.
I’m gonna try to key the whole sky
down a little bit. I don't want to approach white because if I key the sky down
that means I can get more color into it.
I also don't want to make this too black
or too low in key.
I want to keep it dark but with room to go darker if I want. And
in this case, I will get a very condensed version of aerial perspective.
I'm condensing everything on the ground.
I'm sort of keeping it in a very small value range.
And I'm probably not going to use any strong colors
here because I want the strong colors to be in the sky.
But the same rules of planes apply, flat planes, vertical planes, upper planes
they still apply here, your upright planes are still going to be darker than your flat
planes. Just going to be all a bit condensed.
And I'm just going to scrub some things in for the foreground. So everything
is kind of compressed together. And a couple of values for the house.
I'm imagining again a white house just to show how a white object might work
in this situation. So that's a white object,
but It's not going to be
nearly as light as anything in the sky.
I’ll imagine a white road or path as well.
So just very close values is the point here.
Because I want the contrast - I'm saving all the contrast for the sky.
And I haven't hit anything close to black yet
so I have that in reserve in case I need to go a bit darker.
Okay. Now I'm going to look at the shadow part of some of the clouds.
And some of the clouds in the shadow portion, which is now the side plane,
can also be fairly dark. I want them also to contrast against the sky.
So they're going to be fairly dark. probably not as dark as any of the things
on the ground. I might just lighten up the back road trees a tiny bit.
I'm still thinking about aerial perspective.
So the clouds coming forward are going to be slightly darker.
Clouds going back are going to be lighter.
Some of these clouds that I'm imagining are a little bit more dense
so they will have a more dense shadow. So a lot of things to think about
here. I want to make this one kind of dark.
And every time I paint clouds I'm trying to think of an interesting pattern.
And trying to have differences in the clouds.
Differences in sizes and shapes. Up here
I want to have stuff like very formless clouds or just then -
they're not very dense yet here.
I have a more solid cloud.
And a few in the back that are also solid but they're just going away to the
background. And I'm gonna have to adjust the color in a minute,
but just for now got some clouds in there.
Okay now, let's look at this gradation.
I'll try to paint the sky and behind the clouds.
So there's going to be a - it's not only a vertical gradation that I’m gonna have
to think about, but also think about also a horizontal gradation.
So I'm - in this case
I'm imagining the sunset right here.
Right here, and it's pointing up at these - at the bottom of these clouds.
And the brightest part of the sky is going to be somewhere down here.
Maybe here even, somewhere here.
Then it’s going to get darker as it goes up
and is it goes out.
So let’s see what that would look like.
I might even paint in
the bottom of those clouds first with a very red, reddish violet just so I know
how light I can go there.
I’m gonna mix that up.
Red is a very dark color,
which most people don't know when they first start painting. People always seem to think that
red is a very light color in value but it's very very dark.
I often see people get this wrong where they want to paint something red
and they get the the values mixed up.
Just something to pay attention to. So I want to have some of these clouds be
even lighter than sky behind them
maybe in a few areas.
A few areas not.
So I'm just thinking about the under planes of the clouds right now.
I'm trying to get them illuminated by the sun.
Okay, I want to start paint the sky in.
And I'm going to think about this color idea, this color gradation idea.
And I’m gonna think about it in terms of relative color.
So I might pick a sky
that is maybe all very yellowish green but within that yellowish green scheme,
I can see this changes.
And I think that's what I'm going to do.
Just trying to find the right color.
Probably going to be something
I’m going to adjust. It's a bit too dark.
I'll start up here in the more green yellow section of the sky.
I’m gonna try to save room for that upper atmosphere cloud.
Although maybe it's too much for this painting.
I'll just take that out. I don't need it.
Try to keep it simple.
Okay so I'm just painting that yellowish green portion right now.
I've got a general yellowy scheme
but it's going to fall into these -
so it's going to follow this way of thinking.
And I'll go up to a more blue
towards the top. More of a blue green area of the sky. That’s too green. And I hope
I'm not painting the sky too dark.
I'll start moving down into the yellowy orange section.
And the main thing I'm thinking about here is just getting enough contrast between the land
and the sky. At the same time getting enough color into the sky.
Of course when you’re painting outside,
this effect will last five minutes or so,
maybe less. As the sun goes down, the effects last
you know, ten minutes and five minutes and the sky
will just go through every minute a continuous change until it's dark.
So you’ve got to be fast outside.
You have to know a little bit -
you have to have a little bit of an idea what you're doing too.
And you’ve got to do a bunch of them.
Get a few sky holes in there.
Okay, I'm going to - I’m going to put a little bit of some of these - some
reflections on the pond or the lake here.
And I’m gonna adjust the color of some of these clouds a little bit
so they sit into the sky a little bit better.
I'm going to take some of the blue out of that and add more of an
orangey color. So it sits in the sky
a bit better. Some of the surrounding sky is going to start bleeding
into those clouds and affecting everything so I will make that more
a little bit more sky color. Maybe this one too.
And I might add a few accents down here and then take one more look
at it. Maybe I - maybe I can lighten it up here just where the sun has
gone below the horizon to get that
gradation a little bit better. And a few foreground accents and
I think I'll be done.
I'll try to get a few warmer colors here
and suggest a few shadows here, deeper shadows.
Maybe suggest a few windows. And I might even just put a little boat at the
edge of the lake just because it's fun.
Okay, there's an idea of a sunset.
Every sunset is different. You're never going to see the same one twice,
but here's some general concepts.
So very dark and condensed land
and a very light sky contrasting against the land is the main thing. Keying down a
little bit to allow for color in the sky so you can see how dark I
am compared to the white of the canvas.
You could even go darker to get more color in the sky. Condensed
values, the land, already said that, and then as a sun goes below the horizon
it's going to aim - it’s raised up at the bottoms of the clouds.
So that's something to look for.
Okay, that's the sunset.
And this one is frontal lighting or flat lighting.
It's generally looked at as is one of the more difficult things to paint.
It's a situation where the the sun is at your back
and you're looking - you're turned all the way away from the sun.
It's difficult to paint because a lot of values tend to be very similar and there's
not a lot of shadows and not a lot of contrast often.
So I'm just going to sketch in a scene.
And maybe I'll do it right here.
Is one of the more beautiful effects,
but it's a very subtle thing to paint generally.
It's also a little bit more difficult setting up your easel for this effect because you
have - you'll have sunlight on canvas most of time.
And I’m gonna imagine a scene with a sort of old tree
that's just a trunk and a tree behind it.
I’m gonna try to get some contrast without having shadow.
And some distant trees. Maybe a building here.
Maybe a little barn or house.
Maybe a little pond or river. And some clouds. Okay,
so there's the scene. I'm trying to find a scene that has a little bit of
contrast already in it. So on this type of lighting you might find
an object - to get a little bit of contrast in the painting you might find an
object that is already a light-colored object
to contrast against a darker color object like a tree. I've got a dead tree here
that's going to be kind of bleached by the sun a little bit and that's going
to contrast to the living tree behind it.
The sky is going to be very dark in this scene relative to turning one hundred and
eighty degrees and looking into the sun. When you're looking away from the sun the sky
will tend to be dark.
So let’s just get started.
So there's not a lot of shadows in the scene,
but the shadows that you do see
will be running away from the viewer
into the picture. So I might see a little bit of shadow
from this tree as it
runs back into the picture. I'm just going to start by putting some
masses in and then I think I'll start with this tree,
Mass. And it's almost all light.
There might be a little bit of shadow,
a few patches of shadow here and there. Maybe underneath it or maybe behind it
you can send to a bit of shadow,
but generally everything is in light. I’ve got a mass of trees.
I might just want to put some
variety down here. I'm imagining that some of these branches fell off of this
trunk and there's going to be a few branches in the foreground to just give a
little bit of variety.
And a little bit of color variation.
I start thinking about this back mountain.
And I want to make sure I can get the sky dark enough.
I want the the clouds to really pop out against the darker blue sky.
Thinking about this foreground mass.
The same idea of planes apply here
so I’ve got a very light flat line plane and a darker upright plane.
This is going to be the exception with a very light colored object.
This might just be lighter, this upright might be a little bit lighter than the ground
plane. So just taking into account the local color of the object.
Okay. I want to look at the sky now and generally,
the sky is one of the lightest things outside. In this situation
you might have the sky being nearly as dark as some of the ground planes
and darker than some of the objects on the ground such as this very white object.
I'll have a - maybe I'll have a white building back there.
And even very light grass might start becoming almost the same value as the sky
or lighter in patches. So a lot of very close - a lot of very close
values in this situation. I’m going to start putting the sky in.
So you notice that this value is almost
the same value as the grass or the flat line plane.
And there's going to be patches down here that are dark - or that are lighter
than the sky. So it's just an interesting effect that happens.
It’s kind of the exception to the rule that the sky is always the
lightest thing. And I might just push a little bit of more of a gradation in
the sky. So not much contrast
overall in the picture so far. Just going to push the sky a little bit darker even.
Okay so we’ve got a fairly dark sky now and really looking at the relationship between
the flat line plane in the sky and trying to figure out how what's lighter,
what's darker? Usually the sky is lighter
almost in every case. In this case portions of the sky will be lighter than
the ground plane. But it's at that point where it could go either way.
The clouds in this situation you’ll see very brightly illuminated, the sun is hitting them from behind,
from top and behind. And they’re contrasting with a very dark sky.
And you might see a few under planes there.
I’ll just suggest a few under planes to these clouds. Okay a
couple under planes. I’m gonna put in a little pond right here and there’s
an effect that you get when you're looking away from the sun where
water also tends to be very dark and can be darker than the ground plane.
Especially if there's a little bit of wind. So I’m going to try to put that in and
I'll make a very dark water.
Okay. Painting a little bit more of the ground plane at the flat line plane
and step it off into the distance.
So I’m gonna use aerial perspective. So all very close values so far and just
color difference is really but just of slightest suggestion of a shadow on the edge
of a form. I’m gonna turn this into a kind of a road leading in and
imagine also on a dirt road, a light-colored road to get a little bit of contrast.
And that's going to be very light in this situation.
Okay, let's look at these trees back here.
And they’re upright planes, they're going to be roughly this value.
Just under the effect of aerial perspective.
So they'll get a little bit slightly lighter and they’ll go through a color change
as they go back into space.
And maybe I'll find a few trees that are slightly different colored.
Maybe there's some smaller bushes down here.
So this effect is all about getting the color difference s
of different objects because you can't rely on the shadow to form the structure of
your picture. Because I want to mix up a few things for this dead tree.
And it's an upright plane but it's a front lit upright plane and I’ve got to decide if the upright
is going to be lighter than the flat line plane.
So I'll have a few branches down here, flat line and I'll make it try to make a
difference between these two. And I think the flat line ones will be a little bit lighter.
So maybe I'll put those in first.
Couple branches that fell off. And I'll just the - I'll put in a few shadows,
I'll adjust these shadows a bit.
Lighten that shadow up, it’s a cast shadow running away from the viewer.
Just going to lighten it up a bit on the flat line plane.
And maybe even suggest a tiny bit of shadow running up the side of this
tree and maybe a tiny bit underneath and maybe some - maybe you can see a few
shadows behind some of these branches.
Just little tiny slivers of shadows is what you're going to see in this effect.
For the most part anyway. Suggest a few shadows in the tree. And I might just
key down the clouds a bit.
Just a tiny bit. Put a little bit of color into them.
A few sky holes. And I'm imagining this is a white building and it’s reflecting on to
this lake a little bit.
I might suggest a few branches in this tree.
And that's pretty much it for an idea of a front light affect.
So you got a relatively dark sky, relatively close values everywhere.
It's almost - there's almost no shadows just a little tiny tiny slivers of shadows.
Because the shadows are hidden by the objects usually so I'm seeing that the shadow pop
out from behind this dead tree here.
Generally regarded as a difficult effect to paint,
but one that is, if you can pull it of, it’s an extremely beautiful effect because
it's - just lots of subtle color variations. That's an idea of a front lit effect.
and now I want to contrast that with a silhouette or backlit effect.
And this effect will be - imagine yourself looking directly into the direction of the sun.
And a few things that you're going to see, you're going to see
a lot of shadow. Almost all of your upright planes will be in shadow.
You're going to see a very very light sky
and you're going to see shadows running towards you, cast shadows running towards you.
So let's take a look at that.
It's kind of the exact opposite of this flat light effect.
I'll just draw out a little scene.
It's also regarded by a lot of painters as an easier effect to paint
because there are lots of shadow.
There are lots of shadow.
And it’s generally thought of is easier to mix up a shadow color because the shadow
color is very - it tends to be very ambiguous.
It could be any range of colors.
And what's most important about shadow often is just the value.
So a lot of people think it's easier to do a backlit effect.
Then it is a front lit affect. A front lit in fact,
very careful attention has to be paid to all
the subtle color variations as well as value variations. In a backlit effect
you can kind of - there's more room to move around a bit as far
as color relationships. It's also easier to set up outside because you almost always will
have your canvas in shadow.
The sun will be - you’ll be looking into the sun so your cameras will be in shadow.
It makes it a little bit easier to paint.
Okay, so let's just draw a little scene.
I’m gonna imagine a tree, a little hill coming down. Maybe a few trees on that hill.
I want to imagine a lake or river in the background because in this effect you
can also get a glare on the water.
Which is kind of nice.
And I'll mention some trees here, middle distance, and maybe even a house or something.
And maybe I'll put another tree here just to show
how shadows in this situation are gonna run away from the - or sorry in this
the situation the shadows will run towards the viewer.
In perspective of course. So I'll suggest a little cash shadow here.
So I'm just going to start suggesting shadow and you'll see that this effect
is lots of shadow.
This will all be almost all in shadow, any upright plane.
Basically, any upright plane is 90% shadow in this situation.
I'm imagining the sun is just - it's up here somewhere.
It's just off the picture.
Seymour trees and some clouds so we can see what happens to clouds in the situation.
Clouds are also going to be lots and lots of shadow. Okay so basically,
all of the upright plans are going to be shadow, which tends
to unify everything which is nice.
So I've got an odd shadow pattern
running through this whole painting which is nice.
And this effect is more about light and shadow at this point.
So everything in light versus everything in Shadow and so there’s going to be a lot
more contrast in this situation.
So let’s start to paint this in and see what it looks like.
Okay I’m gonna start with one of the upright shadows. And so these uprights are just a wall
of shadow in this situation.
I know I'll paint a few more upright shadows and stuff them back into - or
using aerial perspective stepping back into space.
Maybe I'll put the cash shadow here first.
Which is going to be lighter than the upright shadow
because it's receiving more light from the sky.
Start to step these back into space, the
upright shadows. Maybe I'll put a little road here just so we can compare
it to the road on this one.
I’ll imagine a little road coming through here
and winding back this way. Okay,
just finish putting in some of the upright
planes, the upright shadows. I’m just stepping back, trying to take the yellow out of
them. They're getting bluer and lighter as they go back into space.
And on the back hill or back row of trees here,
I want to make it very light. I want to make it lighter than
this one. A little bit lighter. This is also by the way a pretty good strategy
for starting a painting. If you don't know where to start you can start by
just painting in your shadows.
If you have shadows. It's also a pretty good effect to paint if you're a beginner
because if these shadows tend to simplify the objects more than in the
light. In the light
there's a lot of simplification that the painter has to do. In this case
nature does a lot of this implication for you.
Simplification just by having everything in shadow it tends to kind of to
simplify things. Just put a little mountain back there.
Okay, let's look at the sky a little bit.
I’ve got a lake back here and I want to save a
little bit of room for glare just because it's a fun effect to paint. And what
glare is is it's just the sun is up here and it's just little waves catching
the sun reflection. Maybe I'll put some highlights for glare on some of these leaves as
well. It's a backlit situation where you tend to
have lttle leaves and waves and things reflecting the sunlight and you get these little highlights
and spots of glare. So I want to - when I'm mixing up a sky and the
clouds I want to make sure that I'm saving
room at the high end of the value scale to put some of those highlights
in. So those highlights will be almost white.
So I want to make sure that I key down just a little bit everything in
the sky. So that those bits of glare will still - they will sort of pop
out a bit. So I still want to make a very light sky but keeping in mind
that glare effect. Okay so I'll mix up a bit of the sky.
So a very light sky and there will be some shadow in the clouds,
but it's going to be very condensed into very very close values.
The situation as well the the sky tends to be more of a yellowy
blue. Try to get some yellow in the sky.
So they're going very very light sky.
That might even be too light.
Maybe a little too light.
I’ll make a slight gradation going towards the top of the sky.
But in general I just want to feel very - like a very light sky.
And maybe it's getting a bit orange now.
That's okay. So just thinking about sky gradation.
I don't want too much contrast.
I want it to feel really light, I want it to feel like the sun is right up
here. Try to get a few sky holes in there.
So here we have a situation where you’ve got
one of the darkest skies with the sun at your back. Here
we are looking into the sun.
And so you have a very light sky that tends to have almost a yellowy cast
to it. In this situation you have a dark sky that is - can be a very deep
blue. I could make this even darker.
Okay I’m gonna start painting in some of the flat line planes.
I forgot about my road there,
but I'll just paint over it.
Paint it into this plane. Okay,
you can start to see the effect of emerging now.
And the little slanted plane here the other hill side that'll be just slightly slightly darker
than the flat line plane.
Okay, let's look at the road as well.
So in this flat light situation
I'm going to go to - I'm imagining sort of white road or dirt road
and it's very light, it's probably lighter than the sky.
This situation the same road.
Imagine a very light object on the ground.
It's not going to be nearly as light as the sky in this situation.
Okay. Okay, I think I can start painting in some of the upright
lights and this effect is called backlighting, it’s also called - some people
call it rim lighting because you often just get around the edges of these uprights.
They'll be illuminated. So you’ll see
kind of like how I have the clouds in now. The shadow tends to be sort
of in the middle of the form and the same thing for the trees.
So you have a light going around the edges.
And on the tops and on the edges of some of these forms
you'll see the lights. It's a really nice effect because there's a lot of contrast.
And you might even see a little bit on this side.
And same thing with the other trees,
you'll see the tops and the sides illuminated.
So many paintings that you look at are this affect. So many old
paintings that are really nice paintings are this effect because there's a lot of contrast and
there tends to be a sort of unity, sort of natural unity in the shadows.
And some of these forms back here as well.
So if you know something about linear perspective you're going to notice a few things in this
effect. You're going to notice that maybe on this side of the picture
the lights tend to be more on the left side of the forms.
Whereas on this side they tend to be more on the right side of the forms.
And the shadows on this side of the picture tend to run this way.
And the cast shadows on this side tend to run this way.
So all these shadows, the shadows are parallel,
but from our point of view they run
towards the vanishing point. Okay you can start to see the the very big differences here
now. Here is lots of contrast in general, lots of contrast between the sky and
the ground and here just the opposite.
I want to paint you in a little bit of the water.
And depending on a lot of factors this will change value and color,
but I'm imagining a little bit of wind on this water because without wind you don't -
you can't have glare. So I wanna have a little bit of wind and I’ll ask myself
what's lighter the water or the land next to it?
In this case, it's pretty obvious.
And in this case not as much and it can vary a lot.
Okay, so I still haven't put the glare on it yet.
Maybe it's time to deal with this tree here.
Or maybe I should jump - I’m going to finish this sky.
So these cloud shadows should just be distinctly different from the sky,
but very close in value. And so it's really - in this situation
it's the under plane and the side plane facing the viewer that's in shadow.
Part of the under plane I should say, not the whole under plane.
But you tend to get this a fact that you have,
just like on the tree,
you get the light around the form and in this case often all the way
around. Okay, I'll paint in some of the lights of the clouds now.
And I don't want to use pure white to do this.
I'm looking for a slightly warmer
version of white and I want to key it down just enough to save room for
that glare to pop out as well.
Okay. I'm going to start laying in a bit of the glare on the water.
I need a clean brush.
Okay. There's a sort of glare effect.
A few spots of gear here as well.
And I'll just deal with this tree now.
Maybe this is just a -
maybe this tree has a couple leaves on it that I can paint into the sky
And a few suggestions of shadow. So I’m gonna
imagine - I’m imagining that this tree is not as dense as this tree.
So maybe I'll get more light coming through
the tree and so even on this effect, I might not have a solid
shadow there, but maybe a lots of light filtering through.
And mostly I just want to have this tree so I can put a few spots
of glare on the leaves.
Just want a few branches down here so I can pick up some of the glare.
Okay. I'll try to get a few of
the leaves catching the sunlight. Okay,
so maybe I'll just I'll change the color of this cast shadow bit.
Okay, so there's an idea of a couple ideas of a backlight effect,
backlight or rim light or silhouette affect it’s sometimes called because you tend to end
up with just silhouettes of trees.
And anything upright tends to be all in shadow.
So you can see very big contrast between these two effects and that's - you can get
that contrast just literally by turning 180 degrees around when you're outside.
So you're facing into the sun,
or you’re facing away from the sun and you can have two completely different effects.
the temperature of the sunlight over the course of a day.
So far we've done sort of middle of the day pictures
and a very late or early picture.
So either before the sun has risen or after it’s set, this one, these two are
sort of the middle of the day effects.
And haven't really dealt with the temperature of the sunlight yet.
So I want to just talk about that for a minute.
So I’d like to just imagine
that I'm standing here the Earth.
I just imagine it being flat actually
and the dome of the sky like this, and I'm imagining that the sun,
when it's down here below the horizon, if I'm standing here next to
the house, when it's down here and we have this effect.
It’s below the horizon, it's actually shining.
Its rays are hitting the bottoms of the clouds, shining up this way.
When the sun gets over the horizon
it's going to rake, the light will rake across the landscape horizontally.
And if you're able to see that light, for example, hitting a white object,
it'll be very clear that this light is a reddish
orange, it’s almost a violet. It very very quickly changes.
So the temperature of the light there is a sort of red violet.
So that’s just after the sun comes over the horizon.
A lot of times there's a mountain or something here blocking that so you won’t see
it. Now the reason that the temperature changes throughout the day is because when the
sun is on the horizon,
it's cutting through a lot of atmosphere and I like to think about different veils of
atmosphere going back. So in this situation,
it's cutting through the most atmosphere possible.
And it's going through that color change.
So when the sun gets a little bit higher in the sky, even just a little
bit higher, it’s going to change to more of an orange,
the temperature of the light. Again if you look at your white house,
it's actually going to appear orange at that point.
When it gets up to somewhere in this area
it'll go to sort of an orangy yellow.
And then for most of the day the sun is a sort of - it's a
sort of white light. So it's up here and it's - the temperature is not changing that
much as it's up here.
It's not cutting through so much atmosphere at
this point. Then towards the evening
it'll start going through those changes again.
So this is the sun over the course of a day.
It’ll go back and do the same changes in reverse.
So it’ll - the sun is starting to go down
and the temperature of light is becoming more yellowy
and then more orange and finally, if you can see it,
it'll be almost a violet red.
So that's really what’s happening in this picture.
We've got the violety red light hitting the bottom of the clouds.
And these two pictures they could have been painted anywhere in this time,
so depending on the time of the year this could be
at nine in the morning all the way to just an hour or
two - well, let's put it this way.
This is an hour or two after sunrise and an hour or two
before sunset, that whole range in the middle.
You're not going to notice a big temperature shift in the sun.
Or color shift. It's going to be sort of a white light.
So if you have a white object outside and the sun's hitting it, it's
going to appear white. So I'm going to try to paint a end of the day picture
now. So I’m gonna try to imagine
that it's maybe an hour or two before sunset
and there's a yellowish orange light and this effect is sometimes called the golden hour effect.
And I’m gonna imagine also side lighting. Ao then we'll have three types of lighting, frontal,
backlit, and now side lighting with a sort of golden hour light effect.
So, let's see what that looks like.
I want to maybe do a similar scene to the sunset, bring back that house.
Make a horizon. Little bit of a tree. And I’m gonna imagine that the sun
is somewhere over here and it's going to be raking across this way, maybe slightly
lower even. Okay a road, and a few more trees. Also,
I’m gonna imagine the sun.
It’s to the side of me,
but it's a little slightly behind me as well.
So the sun is low in the sky and it's to my side and
just a little bit behind me.
And a few clouds so we can look at what happens to
the color of these clouds. Okay and I’m gonna imagine that over here off the picture
there's some pretty big trees and they’re casting protest long shadows across the
landscape. So in this picture for comparison, the shadows are not very long.
The sun is fairly high in the sky.
So the shadows are pretty short, the cast shadows.
In this effect the shadows are going to be very long
the cast shadows. They’re going to be a raking across the landscape.
And I'm going to use it.
This is actually a sort of compositional device as well having a having a foreground
in shadow as a sort of compositional device that people often use. So I’m gonna imagine a few
shadows on the side of this tree. And maybe get an electric pole in there.
And I want to put a little bush here that's going to be casting
the shadow here across the road and up onto the house.
Maybe a few more long shadows from something outside the picture, something over here.
Okay. And this tree is obviously going to be a casting enormous long shadow as well.
Okay, so I've got lots of shadows raking across the landscape.
And a few shadows on the upright objects.
Are upright planes but there.
This tree is maybe two-thirds in the light and one-third in shadow.
And this house that I'm going to imagine as a white house again,
it's got - we're seeing two sides of it.
One side is going to be hit almost directly with this light from the sun.
The other side is a sort of a raking light.
It's not quite shadow but I’ll make a difference there.
in value. This is also a good way just to conceive of a picture is the
sort of the amount of light and dark compositionally, it's good to sort
of see your picture as how much dark areas do you have and do they make
an interesting design? Okay. Let's start painting and see what happens here.
Okay, so I’m gonna have to think about this a little bit.
So I want everything that's being hit by the sun
now, it's going to have a sort of yellowy, yellowy orange cast to it.
So when I mix up the house color
it's not going to be white,
it's going to be sort of a yellowy orange white, When I mix up the
green of the tree it's not going to be green like we have here.
It's going to be green affected by a yellowy orange light.
So everything's going to have that cast to it.
That sort of yellow temperature added into it. So I have to think about that
as I'm mixing. And thinking about the sky, we've got side lighting
or almost directly from the side, a little bit from behind.
So the sky in terms of value is probably going to be somewhere between these two
examples. So not really really light like on the backlit effect
but also not very dark like the front lit effect.
colors. This is also a fairly difficult effect to paint because it moves so fast.
These shadows move very fast, at the end of the day, at the beginning of the
day and the end of the day all these effects
are very very quick effects,
they change rapidly. Shadows are moving rapidly, this - the temperature of the light is changing
rapidly. Also at a certain point the sun is going to shine more directly on
upright planes and less directly at flat line planes.
So all of the general rules that apply to those planes
now are a little bit different in this situation.
I'm just thinking about that
golden light sort of touching everything. Maybe I'll just - I'll paint in the house just to see
how - this will be the lightest thing in the picture
I think so I want to see what my range of values is going to be.
So it's a white house,
but it's actually sort of orange and yellow. I might imagine some of these tree trunks
are getting some of that
light coming in, side lighting. Okay,
but the other facet of the house is going to be a little bit darker.
Still in the sunlight, but slightly darker because it's facing a different direction.
It’s also probably going to - probably going to be less contrast between the light and shadow
in this situation. So
the values are kind of squeezed closer together, the values of the light and
shadow. A few more trees back here. And some of the cast shadows I need to start
painting in. And these cast shadow are again,
they're receiving their light from the sky in this situation.
So the shadows when the sun is high in the sky like this backlit
situation, the sky is very it's it's very blue and the shadows tend to be
blue and tend to be affected by the dome of the sky shining, illuminating the shadows.
In this situation we're going to have a sky that it's not quite towards this kind
of yellowy orange, but it's going there.
So It's going to be a little bit less blue,
you would expect the more of a - almost more of a green effecting the
shadows. Okay, I'm almost ready to start imagining sky a bit. I want to just make that
back road trees and the road.
Get that in. You can see the difference emerging here, a lot less contrast,
there's an orange glow to everything in the sunlight.
This is a very almost cold
sunlight temperature in comparison, cold shadows, blue shadows because of the skies a bit bluet at this
time of day. And white light hitting everything.
And these long shadows everywhere. Think about the road for a minute.
And again, I'm imagining sort of a white road or dirt road.
A little cast shadow going across the road.
And up onto the house.
And this raking light is not hitting this road very directly.
So it's going to be fairly dark.
I want to make sure that the road is darker than the house because
the house is being hit more directly by the sun.
Just about ready to start thinking about the sky.
Think about this shadow, there's a roof overhang in this a bit,
and I'm just thinking about that shadow.
Maybe the sun is even hitting the underside of this roof
just a little bit. So I'm always thinking about - when I'm outside
I'm always thinking about where is the sun?
How is it affecting the big forms,
which way is the sun moving, how much time do I have before the
effect changes too much? And just always keeping track and always knowing what's going on
out there. So if I was painting this outside and the shadows started like this,
they would be this might all be in ahadow now, we might be looking more at
a sunset situation. Or if this was the morning, these shadows would have almost disappeared already
and we would be looking more at one of these effects.
So I’m always trying to keep track of what's going on,
and I'm always thinking every time I’m painting
something I'm thinking about where is the sun
and how is that going to affect the form,
what's the temperature of the light,
where does this receive its light from?
In this case the sky so trying to keep everything in mind at all times.
And not only that, but I'm also thinking about how much contrast I want between the
shadow and the light. How Is this color going to look relative to the
sky color that I'm going to put in?
I'm keeping in mind all of the sort of value plan that I already have in
So, like I said, I want my sky to be
not quite this level of kind of yellow orange,
but also not this cold blue either.
That might be a little bit too green.
And I’m actually thinking about this
sky diagram. Let me just paint that in a little bit easier to see.
I've got a red band.
A violet band. There's an orange part of the sky
and the yellow part of the sky and then there's a green
part of the sky and the blue part the sky and even back up to violet
eventually. So in this situation we saw a lot of that reddish orange
yellow band. So kind of maybe orange-yellow going up to a green band
with even parts of the red at the bottom. In this situation we're going to see a
little bit of that as well.
So I'm starting to see influences of - I'm starting to imagine these influences of the
of the orangish red band on the bottom of the sky,
so it's a blue sky,
but with a sort of overall cast of orangy yellowness to it and then
with different bands going up.
That's just the way to - it’s just a way to think about the gradation.
I'm just trying to adjust the color a bit.
A few sky holes. And I'll look at the clouds and the clouds are going to be -
they’re being hit by light.
And they're hitting - the sun is hitting the side planes those clouds almost directly.
And we’ll still probably see a slight under plane
shadow. Let’s just paint those in. But they're going to be hit by that yellowy light as well.
Okay, I'm just noticing that on this white building this shadow wouldn’t be so dark
So I’m gonna lighten that up quite a bit.
Might even lighten up the road a bit too.
It’s looking too dark. And I better - I need to cover that up.
I don't know what kind of roof that is,
but it's being hit by a little bit of raking light.
Okay. I'm just going to stand back and look at this for a minute.
I think I want to bring a little bit more contrast to this area.
So I'll lighten up some of those lights, keep the shadows where they are.
I just want to lighten up some of the lights.
Maybe one or two more sky holes.
Maybe I just need a few more branches.
Okay I think I'm almost there, almost coming to the end of this
one. Let's just take a look at - let’s just compare some of these now.
Let's just recap here. I've got side lighting,
a very orange yellowy light, probably the end of - towards the end of the day,
maybe an hour or two before sunset.
This could also be easily a sunrise.
So everything in the light has that very orange yellow cast to it, the sky
also has a sort of yellow cast to it.
And especially now comparing this one, this raking end of day light to
this flat light situation or even this backlit situation where we're thinking about the sun up
here where it is most of the day.
The majority of the day, 80% or 90% of the day, the sun is up there
and you're going to get situations more like this.
So we have a very white light
on both of these and here we have the yellow light.
And we have raking lights, so there's long, long, long shadows, cast shadows.
And the upright planes have now become the lightest thing and most of the time, 80%
of the time outside or 90% of time,
the flat plane is going to be lighter than an upright plane.
But in this situation it's starting to reverse a little bit.
And you could see that when you compare the house to the road. I’m imagining
them a similar local color.
So now we have the upright plane being hit more directly
by the sun then the flat line plane.
Okay, let's get ready for the next one.
It’s an effect that I personally find a little bit hard to paint.
It's a very subtle effect, it can be very subtle, and it can change very
subtly throughout the day. So a lot of people say,
oh it's easy to paint a grey day effect because you have the whole day to paint it
and nothing changes. But I find that a lot of color and value relationships make subtle
changes throughout the day and that actually makes it a little bit more
tricky for me to paint.
Whereas a sunlight effect I know exactly when it's changed.
It's really obvious. So there's a couple things to keep in mind when painting a grey
day or I’m saying great day,
but cloudy day, grey day.
It's just the same thing.
Same name or same effect. Yeah,
let's just look at a grey day affect and just talk a little bit about it.
And I'm just going to draw out a little scene here.
Get a tree
so we have some upright planes
and maybe a little bit of a distant hill. And some foreground, maybe even
a few animals, just for spots of color here.
Maybe some cattle. Maybe even have a little river running through here, a little creek.
Okay, so the main difference between a sunlight effect and a cloudy day affect is on
a cloudy day affect you have very diffused light everywhere.
So you don't get hard shadows or clear shadows and in a sunny day affect
you should always be able to distinguish
what's in the sun and what’s in the shadow.
On a grey day or cloudy day effect it's - the dome of the sky - if
you imagined that dome in the sky again,
It's sort of Illuminating almost equally from every point
of the Dome of the sky.
It's Illuminating everything. But most of that light is falling more from the top than it is
from the side. So what that means is you have - you still have flat planes that
are lighter than upright planes,
but you don't have a clear shadow and sunlight division.
You also have a situation,
a little bit like the sunset effect
where - I’ll just do a little version here - where you can think about the big value plan
as being everything on the ground
versus everything in the sky. So you have this big
value division between sky and land, just like on the sunset effect.
Just to compare, for example in the front lip or flat light effect, the sky value
and the land value can be similar or the same. In this case
the land is never going to be lighter than the sky on a grey day.
So let’s just look at a few things.
I'm just going to start suggesting
some values, so upright planes.
I've got a little tree here.
I'm going to make that sort of reflecting down to this creek.
And see let’s see, a few more trees, maybe a band of trees back here and then a mountain.
And there's a mountain in the distance.
And I want to put a few -
maybe they're sheep or cows or something.
Just so we have some white objects and see what happens to a white object.
Okay. I might even just suggest a little bit this idea
so I don't forget about it.
So everything on the land
versus everything in the sky. And I also want to make sure that I - that the
sky is not extremely light.
So I want to make sure that I'm going to key that down a little bit
as well. So everything's kind of keyed down.
There's no clear distinction between light and shadow.
There are diffused cast shadows
in this situation.
So under a tree
you might see a diffused cast shadow
where there's no clear end to it.
But things, as they roll under,
they receive less and less light from the dome of the sky.
And underneath an object you will have a diffused cast shadow.
So under this tree, I have a little diffused
cast shadow. Okay. Let's see what this is going to look like.
So I’m gonna key everything a little bit down.
So my flat line plans are not going to be as light as something like a
sunlight picture, they’re gonna be keyed down a bit.
There’s obviously a lot of variation in a grey day or cloudy day picture.
So this is just a sort of general idea.
I'm sure there are exceptions to everything. So I'm going to start out by just
keying everything down. So let's look at that value compared to this effect.
It’s quite a bit darker. Okay,
so there's the ground plane
more or less laid in. Let's look at the upright planes.
And we know that the upright planes are receiving less light than the ground plane
so they have to be a little bit darker.
So I'm going to save a little bit of canvas for the top plane for the
top planes of the tree.
And a few more trees back here.
Aerial perspective still so working on a great day.
So upright planes going back into space and just becoming a little bit affected by the
atmosphere as they go back. A distant mountain in there. Okay,
so far we got very close values and darker values compared to the sunlight effect.
There's also no discernible light and shadow line,
there's not that one place where you can say,
this is in the shadow or this isn't a light because there's a diffused light
source. It's the dome of the sky.
So it's pointing in every direction.
But it does mean that the top planes are a little bit lighter than the side
planes and it does mean that there's probably a diffused shadow underneath something like a tree.
So let's put in that diffused shadow.
And where exactly does this shadow end, I don't really know, it’s diffused.
Maybe there's one there. I’ll put some animals in there eventually,
but they're going to have little tiny diffused shadows under them as well.
And I'm just going to add a little bit of variety to the foreground.
I’m gonna imagine a sort of riverbank.
Okay just imagining a
riverbank there. And maybe a little bit of variety here.
These oranges and yellows always pull things forward so it never hurts to have a little bit
of variety in the foreground and if you're going to put variety in the foreground, a little
bit of orange and yellow and red, anything warm, tends to pull that forward.
Let's look at the some of the top planes here.
So these trees are going to receive more light
at the top of them, at the top planes.
So they're going to be a little bit lighter
than the side planes. But again, like the diffused shadow situation,
you don't really know where the top plane ends and where the side plane starts.
Here in this situation, sunlight situation,
everything's either light or shadow.
It's very clear. In this situation
not so clear. But a few top planes. I might like that mountain just a little
bit more blue. And I’m gonna paint in the reflection
of this big tree into this river
and make sure that the reflection isn't as dark as the tree.
So as a general rule, dark objects will reflect a little bit lighter into water and
light objects will reflect a little bit darker into water.
And that depends a lot on your viewing point of the reflection too,
but that's a general rule to think about.
I'm also kind of seeing down into the water.
So I’m imagining it's kind of a sandy river bottom.
I'm going to take that into account as well.
Don’t want to make it too light.
I’m just gonna maybe paint a little bit more the ground plane
for a second. I'm gonna adjust it a little bit, maybe lighten it up just a tiny bit.
Okay. So I’m gonna paint the sky in next. And again,
I want to make sure that I have a lot of contrast between
the sky and the ground, everything on the land.
But I don't want to make the sky too light so
I'm gonna kind of key everything down.
So I've keyed all this stuff down relative to sunlight affect.
We also key the sky down a little bit.
I'm also going to think about what kind of its - they called a grey day,
and people, a lot of people, go out there and they start mixing up a
gray sky by using black and white,
but I want to imagine a grey - everytime
I imagine a gray I want to know what kind of grey is that.
Is it a yellowy grey,
is it a blue grey,
is it a violet grey, what kind of grey am I imagining?
I'm imagining a slightly yellowy grey.
Maybe that's a little bit too
yellow, I’m gonna add alittle bit of red and blue to that.
I might think about a place where the clouds are kind of opening up a
little bit and letting a little bit of blue sky
through. I might do that.
I’m gonna see what this looks like first.
And I want to get a little bit of variation as well in the sky.
Because some of these clouds are a little bit more dense than other clouds and the
less dense clouds are letting more sunlight through.
So there's a lot of variation
on a on a great day usually in the sky.
Okay, I'll paint the sky reflecting down into the river and it's going to reflect a
little bit darker. So whenever you have a sky reflecting into a body of water,
general rule is the reflection is going to be darker than the sky.
Okay. And I'm going to make some of this, I’m gonna imagine a sandy bank on this
river and I want to make that a little bit lighter.
And I’m imagining some animals in there, either white sheep or white cattle just
to see what happens with a lighter color object.
And often it can be, depending on they are the conditions,
this white could actually be a little bit lighter than the sky.
Sometimes. Just put a few in to see what it looks like.
I might add a little bit of variation to the sky as well.
Maybe there's a few darker clouds, a few
lighter ones. Maybe this is that area where that little bit of - little tiny patch of
blue sky peeking through. Maybe some of that blue is starting to reflect on this water
too. But now I'm risking turning this into a sunny day painting.
Which I don't want to do.
Maybe there's something light on the ground
here too like a fallen tree or a little piece of a stone wall or something.
Okay, so that's a few ideas now about a grey day and let's just -
let’s just review. So you got no distinction between light and shadow.
No clear distinction between light and shadow.
I've got a diffused cast shadows
which could be even more diffused.
Let me just make that a little bit more diffused.
So no clear shadow, no clear light shadow breakup, diffused shadows underneath objects.
Upright planes distinctly darker than flat line planes. And everything is a bit keyed down.
So compared to the sunlight effect
look how light this is just compare that to this.
What else am I missing?
And a very, very, very rich color.
So very, very rich greens where
you notice here these greens almost look a bit gray.
They look a bit greyed out.
Whereas here these are very deep rich greens.
Lots of deep rich colors on the grey day.
Okay, so that's a few ideas about different light effects.
And if you paint a lot outside you’re going to start - you’re going to begin to recognize these
different light effects and you sort of - you have to know them
actually. You have to understand what you’re painting.
Because everything changes so much you need to understand the effect that you're going after.
So a common mistake is somebody will go out painting, maybe set up at ten o’clock or
something, draw their painting out. Now
It’s 12 o’lock, they start painting,
now it's three o’clock and they're still painting and over the course of those four or five hours
they might have started with this effect and ended up with this effect.
For example. And part of their painting is one effect and another part of their
painting is a different effect.
So it's really - it's really important to know the difference between all these effects.
So when the sun comes out, your painting in the grey day,
the sun suddenly comes out, you have to make a decision.
Am I going to keep painting the grey effect or am I going to change it
to a sunny day affect or I'm going to go get a new canvas and start a
sunny day affect now. And the variation of effects is endless.
So here's just a couple
to get you started thinking about them.
Let's take a look now at some historical examples of how other artists have treated different
light effects and see if we can identify some of these same ideas.
a few examples of light effects and different times of day.
The first image is an example of - this would be top lighting or
midday lighting, noon. And we can tell because we have very small cast shadows and
they're almost right underneath the forms.
There's also - we have very very light ground plane.
And yeah, the tops of these trees are being eliminated and the under planes
are in shadow. So this is an example of midday lighting. Another lighting effect here
and this would be an example of backlighting
and probably getting close to midday lighting but - or top lighting - but you can see
now at the viewer, we’re looking into the sun.
So the sun is probably up here somewhere out of picture.
Or out of frame. And we have this big cast shadow
that's coming towards us. So the sun is somewhere up here behind these trees and the
trees are casting a shadow towards the viewer.
This is an example of a backlit painting and all this is all shadow here.
We don't see - there is almost no light here.
It's all shadow. And then a big cast shadow coming towards the viewer.
Okay, here we have an example of what is probably end of the day lighting or
golden hour. The sun is a little bit behind the viewer
and a little bit to the side, so coming from behind and a little bit
from the side. So the whole foreground now is all in shadow.
The sun is very low on the horizon and it's kind of unifying this big
mass of tree or this forest.
And it's throwing this sort of orange color on top of everything.
So we have a big area of shadow
and then a few areas of unified light that are all kind of orange. SO we
have the same light affecting this as it is affecting the forest,
the background. So that's a golden hour.
And looking a little bit away from the sun.
Here we’ve got another another example of midday lighting. So we’ve got very very light ground
plane or flat line plane. Very light flat line plane, we’ve got tiny cast shadows and they're
almost directly underneath the form.
The sky and the flat line plane are pretty close in value.
And here we see where we have an object, a very light colored object
like this road. It's actually a lot lighter than the sky.
So we're looking a little bit, a tiny bit
it looks like the sun is mostly overhead,
but just behind us, so you can see this cast shadow running away from
us. And you can see this cast shadow running away that way.
But mostly the lighting is overhead.
So this is another good example of midday lighting.
Good example of what’s probably either early morning or late afternoon lighting.
This could also be - this could also be winter in the midday because the sun,
this is France I'm guessing.
And the sun is much lower in the sky in the winter in France.
And this could actually be midday,
but it would have to be in winter which actually does look like it's winter when
there’s no leaves on the tree.
So it's - either way the sun is low in the sky and it's causing -
it's creating this big cast shadow.
There's some buildings on this side of the street and there's a giant cast shadow
from these buildings going this way.
The sun is sort of unifying this whole area.
So it's - I would say it’s, even if it is winter,
it's kind of going into that golden hour
portion of the day. So either early morning or late afternoon.
And it's kind of throwing this more yellow orange light on everything.
Okay, let's take a look at this one.
Okay, this is a really good example of mostly front or flat lighting. We don't see
very many shadows here. It looks like the light is coming from behind us and a
little bit to the right.
So this is - almost everything is lit from the top and the front in
this picture. So just tiny bits of shadows here and there but almost no shadows otherwise.
So that would be an example of frontal lighting or it was sometimes called flat lighting.
Okay, let's look at this one.
This would be a good example of dappled lighting. So in this case,
it's probably - it’s not noon,
but it's either going towards evening or coming out of early morning.
The sun is over head and behind us.
And the sun is filtering through and creating - filtering through all the leaves and creating these
little spots of sunlight everywhere.
And little spots of shadow on the trunks of the tree and spots of sunlight on
the trunks of the trees and this would be a good example of dappled light.
Okay let’s look at another William Wendt painting. And in this case, this looks like - to me
this looks like it's probably
Everything on the earth is in shadow at this point
so there's no spots of sunlight.
So I'm guessing that the sun just went down behind us and the moon is now
rising in front of us.
So there’s still lots of ambient light in the sky
because the sun just set behind us.
But there's no - there's nothing on the earth
that's getting any direct sunlight.
So this would be just after sunset facing away from the sun.
Okay here we have a pretty good example of a backlighting effect.
So we can see that the tree is about 90 percent shadow.
And the remaining portions are in sunlight.
Just around the edge of the tree.
And a cast shadow coming towards us.
Same thing back here. We have big portions of this mountain.
It’s probably a vertical plane. It's all in shadow.
And then a little bit of sunlight around the edge of the forms, sunlight just
on the top in the edge of the forms.
Same thing here, just sunlight on the edge
of the forms, So that would be a good example of backlighting.
Okay. Let’s do one more.
Alright this is a pretty good example of -
I would say that this is mostly frontal or flat lighting but the light is - so
the light, the sun is behind us,
but also angled a little bit from the side house. So it’s behind us
but angled. It’s a combination of frontal and side lighting. And we have a foreground shadow so
there's something behind us, either a building or a mountain or Hill or something that's throwing
this whole foreground into shadow.
And then let's look at some of the houses here. We see
mostly light and then little bits of shadow, little bits of shadow on mostly on the
left side of the forms because the sun is a little bit coming in
from the right. So it's mostly a frontal or flat lighting effect with a little bit
of the side lighting effect
mixed in. Okay. Here's a clear example of a front lit effect.
And so let's take a look at
this. So almost no shadows
except for cast shadows running away from us towards the - towards a common vanishing point.
The sun is - we’re facing almost exactly 180 degrees away from the sun here.
The interesting thing about this situation is that on the left side of the painting the shadows
appear on the right side of the tree, on the right side of the painting the
shadows appear on the left side of the tree.
And that's due to linear perspective. And you can tell that Emile Gruppe really knew his
linear perspective because he didn’t make the common mistake that a lot of people do is
they say, okay the light here, the shadow here is on the left.
So they just continue making shadow on the left side of the tree everywhere and you
miss that opportunity to show that that's a linear perspective.
Same thing here, the all these cast shadows are converging on a single vanishing point on
the horizon. So a lot of perspective built into this, a lot of perspective built into this
painting. All right, so that was a few examples of different lighting effects.
And let's look at a physical model now to further explain lighting effects.
of light and how they work on the planes of the landscape.
Okay. So here we are at the model and this model is painted white to
eliminate all of the variations of a local color that you would see in a landscape.
And when you eliminate all those colors, all the local colors, it becomes very clear how
the light affects the different planes. So it becomes very clear at this point that the
slanted plane in this effect is slightly darker than the flat line plane and it becomes very
clear that the upright shadow is slightly darker than the flat line shadow.
So the reason for this at this time of day again,
is that the ahadows are being illuminated by the dome of the sky and that light
is shining more down on the flat line plane than it is sideways at the upright
planes. So that holds true for most of the day, the exception being the very end
of the day and the very beginning of the day.
Okay, let's take a look at this effect.
This is called the backlight effect or silhouette effect.
In this affect you’re looking almost straight into the sun.
Or the sun is - I should say the sun is at your face and
even though it might be above you slightly.
In this case your cast shadows will appear to come at you.
You're going to - all of your vertical planes or upright planes are going to be in shadow.
Nearly completely in shadow, any vertical plane nearly completely in shadow,
maybe 90 to 100% in shadow.
Your slanted plane you would expect to see darker than your ground plane or flat
line plane. And yeah, so we have lots of upright shadows, cast shadows coming at you,
and a slanted plane that's darker than the the ground plane.
So in this affect the sun is not completely overhead yet.
It's one of the more common effects to paint and it's a slightly easier - a lot
of painters call this an easier effect to paint because you have lots of simplified shapes.
All of your vertical planes or upright planes sort of simplify themselves
for you and you get large cast shadows coming at you.
The important thing in this effect is to make a distinction between the upright and flat
line shadows. And to take note of the difference between the slanted plane and
the flat plane. Alright, here's another sunlight effect. This time
it's a midday or noon affect.
The sun is almost completely overhead depending on what time of year it is.
We have illuminated top planes or flat line planes being the lightest thing in the picture.
You'll notice that the slanted plane is still darker than the flat line plane.
So slanted plane being slightly darker than the flat line plane, even though both of them
are in sunlight. The tops of the trees are illuminated and we have very small cast
shadows. Very small, they're almost non-existent.
They just right underneath the trees and maybe just a sliver of cash shadow along the
building here. So mostly what you're looking at
here is light with, in this case, a few upright shadows and almost no
cash shadows. This is the important distinction
here is the slanted playing being still darker than the flat line plane.
Okay. So in this light effect,
we have a very low sun.
The sun is very low in the sky.
We have side lighting, meaning that the light is coming from the side relative to our
viewing point. And let's take a look at what we might expect to see. So we
have now our upright plane in the light starts to become lighter than the flat line
plane at this point. Some of the angled planes in the sunlight start to become a
little bit lighter than a flat line plane.
We see the side planes here illuminated
and I think you could see there some of the tree trunks start to get light
on them. So yeah, this would be an end of the day effect or very early
morning effect with these long shadows raking across the flat plane.
Okay here we have an example of a front light effect.
And this would be either early morning or very late afternoon.
In this case the sun is at your back and it's either just risen
or about to set. You can see now that clearly the the upright planes are lighter
than the flat line plans in sunlight.
And we also have the slanted plane is now lighter than the flat line plane.
So this is an effect that won't last long outside.
In most of the - throughout most of the day
these are reversed. Throughout most of the day the flat line plane is lighter than the upright
plane. In this case, at the very extreme ends of the day, and the very beginning
of the day that rule is reversed.
So we have upright planes being illuminated more than the flat line planes.
And we have the cast shadows running away from the viewer so you can just see
hints of the cash shadow behind some of the objects.
And we can just see tiny hints of shadow maybe underneath some of the objects and
underneath some of the forms and running behind them.
So this would be an early morning
or very late afternoon effect.
This would probably be a sort of golden hour effect.
Okay here we have an example of a front lit or flat lit scene.
A lot of people call it flat lighting because there's almost no form revealed in this lighting.
Everything is illuminated from the front.
And there are just tiny bits of shadow.
Very small bits of shadow that you might see behind some of the forms.
In this scenario the light or the sun is still fairly high in the sky
and you just see - you would expect to see small differences between the planes, like the upright
planes and the flat line planes you can see small differences there.
But this is the - that scenario that's very difficult to paint because of how close everything
is in value. So again,
it's a very very subtle effect,
but can be extremely beautiful effect.
Due to its subtlety, the subtle differences in values and in the real world subtle differences
therefore in color, it's a very difficult effect paint.
All right for this effect
this is either a sunset or a sunrise.
So everything on the land is in shadow.
There's nothing being hit by the sun's rays.
We still do see in this case a distinction between side plane or upright plane, vertical
plane, and the flat plane.
And the slanted plane being somewhere in the middle of those two.
So all of those rules that hold true for most of the day hold true for
this effect as well. The difference being is that everything on land is in shadow and
there's a huge difference between - in value - between everything in the sky and everything on land.
So I hope this helps to clarify the concept of different lighting effects and
how the planes are affected by those lighting effects.
Let's look at color next.
twice at different times of the day.
You might choose to paint one sketch in the morning,
maybe looking into the sun, come back in the afternoon, paint the same scene now the
sun will be at your back.
And you will see how much the light has changed throughout the day.
What you are going to need is two panels the same size and a full color palette.
Free to try
1. Overview of Light Effects1m 20sNow playing...
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2. How to Paint Shadows in a Sunset Effect18m 5s
3. How to Paint the Light in a Sunset Effect20m 57s
4. How to Paint a Frontal Light Effect28m 56s
5. How to Paint Shadows in a Back Light Effect20m 33s
6. How to Paint Light in a Back Light Effect25m 5s
7. Sunlight Temperature & the Golden Hour17m 1s
8. How to Paint Land in a Golden Hour Light Effect20m 58s
9. How to Paint the Sky in a Golden Hour Light Effect15m 56s
10. How to Paint a Grey Day Light Effect35m 52s
11. Analysis of Light Effects in Master Paintings13m 51s
12. Diorama Examples of Light Effects9m 55s
13. Assignment Instructions40s