- Lesson details
In this video lesson world-renowned painter Steve Huston will continue to demonstrate the laws of light by painting a simple bowl in oils. Steve will teach you how to break up your scenes into simple three-dimensional forms like the cylinder and how to analyze form as a series of planes, as well as how to work with value and half-tones.
- Gamblin Artist Grade Oil Colors
- Simply Simmons Paintbrush
- Canvas Panel
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In this video lesson world-renowned painter Steve Huston will
continue to demonstrate the laws of light by painting a simple bowl
in oils. Steve will teach you how to break up your scenes into simple three-
dimension forms like the cylinder and how to analyze form
as a series of planes. You will learn how to work with value and
half-tones to give your painting a sense of direct as well as a reflective
light so that they seem to come right off of the canvas.
the basic renderings, the simple techniques. We talked through some of that.
And now we're gonna take on a little bit more sophisticated form, a bowl.
And it's really the same thinking. It's all curvature but
it's curvature that goes with concavity, inside curvature
and convexity, outside curvature. And so
we have a double whammy here. But not
so difficult. Also we're working on toned canvas. At the end I showed you
how to tone that canvas and so
you'll see here how much simpler - let me see where I want to put this,
I'll put it up here - how much simpler it is
not really simpler, I shouldn't say that - how much quicker it is
to work off a toned canvas. Because now we got rid of that nasty
whiteness. The white canvas absolutely destroys
the illusion of reality of
this being a real, atmospheric
set up here. That sense of
light and structure and mood in an environment is lost in the
white canvas until you can remove the white canvas. And so it takes longer
to get to the effect that you're after. And so it's
harder to see whether you're succeeding in that effect unless
you have some experience with it. So I've got a little bowl here
and I'm going to shade it in very quickly
and I'm gonna put it into an environment.
And I just did a little hatched in
lightly with the black paint. Now I'm gonna go ahead and mix my colors
and we're gonna make a dark
gray background. And we'll go even darker than that
I think. Now when I
mix this I'm always rolling my brush. You can see probably the markings on the
brush moving. I'm always rolling my brush, making sure I don't have one
side a different value, a dab of white or the lighter gray I was working
with sneaking in there. I want to
make it all group into the same
value. Now at the end of the last lesson in Part
1, had I just jumped right onto
that painting I would have been
working over a wet toned canvas. And actually this kind of stuff
would have gone a little quicker even. Because it's wet it's gonna be more
fluid and it's going to move around that
paint. It's gonna move and cover quicker.
It's gonna have a better flow to it because it's wet.
I'm working from a little sketch painting I've done
many years ago that's a bowl, so that's why
I'm using this particular lighting scheme
and I could have made it up like we did the egg but
I had that, happen to have it, and it saves you
from guessing at some of the nuances and I can actually
go quicker by not having to
think things through. Okay so here's the tabletop,
dark - mid gray really - tabletop.
And it just fades off here.
And this fades off there.
And scratch the nose.
This is the
cast shadow up here.
And here's my
Shadow of the
bowl right here.
And the inside shadow of the bowl
I'm just gonna go to my lighter half
tone. Not my middle half tone, I'm gonna let this be the middle
half tone. I'm going to the lighter half tone.
And I'm gonna lay that in. And so
now I'm gonna come back, I've got my two darker grays that did that
environmental stuff. Framing the bowl,
dropping in the shadow then of the bowl, and now I just have the light side
of the bowl. And
it's gonna be the lighter half tone, not the highlight. I want
to be able to set up
a half tone value that will still receive a nice highlight
if it needs it. And in this case we do need it.
Highlights don't give you a lot of form, they give you a little bit
of the form. Usually they just add a little kick of form.
The situations where the half tones kind of fails
doesn't do much in terms of variation
shadow shape might be all gone or most of the forms may not be
in shadow. And then the highlight will
actually do quite a bit of work to explain
where the corner of the nose turns in space or
whatever the situation is. But typically you want the half tone to do most of the work.
I'm sorry the half tone
shadow, the meeting of the two do most of the work.
But the highlight will add just a bit of a
little more accent and a little more descriptive information
in the lights.
Okay so there's a little tiny base
there's the rim.
The thick rim going around it.
there's the basic bowl. And you can see how quickly, relatively quickly, we
establish that with this toned canvas.
Because we don't have to put extra paint on there's no filling
up to force
the value onto the
surface. We've already got a pretty good value there that
just needs to go a little darker. That white.
When we have the white it means we have a lot longer way to go to get to our
values usually. With the middle value it's already there and it
can sneak through a lot of the painting and be very
helpful. It can be right in the ballpark of where it needs to be and so
there's little or no adjustments oftentimes.
Okay so now I'm gonna start rounding this ball off. I've got the
established shadow shape and the
problem with the round form is it's rounding, it's curving in both directions.
You know it's curving in every direction really, but we're gonna render it as
if it curves in two directions. It curves out of light and into shadow this way
and also curves out of light and into shadow this way. From top
down and from, in this case, right to left. It's dropping from
a strong light to shadow, no light.
So under here we're also getting a shadow
and so I'm gonna gradate - I established my shadow shape this way
and it's angling this way. Let's pause
for just a second now and do one of our other forms.
We did the egg or the ball - well we did an egg but it -
the ball, perfect ball, would also be the same thinking,
same procedure as our last - or as our
part 1 lesson on this. But we haven't looked at the other shapes. We haven't looked at the
tube or the box, the wedge shape.
So let's look at those. And there's many shapes of course but they all kinda correspond. They're all very
variations off a ball shape. And this is also a ball shape it's just been
hollowed out on the inside and we've added just a little
tube. Little tube shape.
Let me delineate that a little bit better.
Let's do it like that. A little tube sleeve on the bottom for the
base, the little flat pedestal.
So we have a tube here. Now we'll just go ahead and light this the same way.
Here's our light source coming from this direction more or less.
That one's coming this way and actually it's - I shouldn't even do that, I should
give it a perspective. So I draw a little cone up
here to think it through and you
can imagine it but if you actually draw it
in the beginning. So I'm drawing a little egg and instead of drawing a
tube, I'm drawing a cone, a tapering tube.
So that would be the same thinking as this.
So this is coming that way, that means that the bottom of the tube
will be in shadow. The light is on top, the shadows
are on the bottom. We lose
the bottom of the tube into a shadow.
Gone away. And then it's coming actually out
of the - put these paper towels down and that paper towel in my other hand -
coming from this direction, that's what it suggests here.
Coming down this way and strikes. And so somewhere over here
you can imagine if this were a tube
coming down this way.
And we're underneath this one, we're on top of that one, so
it's gonna curve this way. But you can see how that comes down right here,
there's our shadow shape for the tube.
So here's our shadow
shape for the tube. Now notice what would happen if
I guessed or observed
that that was the shadow shape of the tube and I moved over here
or I moved it over here and screwed it up.
Or I moved this over here
and screwed it up, or back over here and screwed it up. Nothing would happen.
Nobody would notice that. In fact
artists all through history, Renaissance and on,
use what's called - or have used what's called jumping light, where the light
source will be moved to get a better effect. And so they'll light the
face from a deep, top view to
get the eye sockets to show those dramatic, strong
shadows up in here to create the eye socket. But then that might cast a shadow
of the nose over the lips and chin. And so then they'll
want a light source out here so that we get a modest cast
shadow that stays above, traditionally we wanna keep it above the upper lip,
to keep it attractive. Because if it cuts over this,
doesn't look so good, it's not very attractive, it's slicing
across that mouth. So we - typically in portraiture you
wanna keep that shadow shape above the nose shadow, above the
mouth, up in here. And so you can move that light slightly. Or you can -
actually, in Hollywood movie posters they used to do this all the time,
they don't do it quite as much any more because computers do wonderful things
you can really invent things, but you'll have the head shot
of your favorite actor that's gonna be in the movie and the you'll have the
action shot that they wanna use of it
or they'll want a more dramatic effect than the head shot shows and so they'll
relight somebody else's body or take a still out of the
movie of the actor's body, or actress's body
and the lighting will be different. And so they'll have the body
lit from this direction and the head lit from this
direction and what do they do, they don't do much.
Because the audience doesn't notice it. What they'll end up doing is they'll put a little reflected
light that's stronger over on this side to show that there is some kind of light source here
and then they'll come down to the body and they'll put a strong reflected light on this
side and we'll get direct light here
and reflected light here, reflected light here, direct light.
And the audience won't notice. And in my paintings
I will often times switch the light source all over the place. Never had
anybody ever call me on it because the overall effect is realistic but
I'll put two boxers in a ring fighting and I'll give each
boxer their own light source. So if you
goof up on the shadow a little bit, nobody's gonna really notice. Now I'm not
suggesting that you go through every object in your still life a different
light source but you could slightly alter them, you could slightly -
if I trim back this cast shadow, way back here,
nobody would think anything of it. Or extend it off to
get off the canvas. Nobody would think anything of it. And so you've got a lot of latitude
with your shadows and your form shadows and cast
shadows. The only thing you wanna make sure that you don't have a latitude
with, the only thing you wanna make sure, is that the shadow
tracks over the surface. I need to feel like this is moving
over this surface here. And so it can't
distort in the wrong way, in a way that
destroys the curvature. For example if I did this - we'll do it over
here - if I did this bowl round
shape, round hollow, straight
form shadow, it wouldn't look good. And even if it was true, if we got
to an angle with the light source, an angle of viewing
where it did go straight, and that certainly happens. You can take a ball
and light it with a light source right from above
and make it do this. But that's bad design.
You almost never want to do that unless you have some
formal strategy in mind that needs it, that demands it.
Because what we've done now is we've used a straight line to describe a
round form and the linear design, the line
design is not in service of your idea. Your idea
is to convey great roundness. Roundness
in line, roundness in tone,
roundness in gradation. And to do a
straight line destroys that roundness. So you're much better off
lighting it where the
light source is slightly forward or slightly back
or in such a way that you
bit like that. Now round line
is helping to describe round form, along with your
round tone. And then how do we do round
tone? We gradate. Gradates gonna -
gradations gonna give it - but notice that whatever form I
render, I start out
with relatively hard edges so that I can
design it correctly and not incorrectly so I can
see the values and make sure they're correct and not incorrect.
And if this is too dark I would come up and mix a
correct value, lighter value, and I would fill it in lighter. Notice also that I'm
grouping all of my shadows into one value on the
cylinder so they group together. Alright
so let's move along with this little tube so we can
get back to our main interest.
And now I'm just going to have this go ever darker.
notice my zigzag creates my gradation now.
So what I do, I laid in two values
in the light side and then just blended them together,
gradation to start off that form more quickly. I could have picked
one value. Let's make it one value,
Or I could have put that first value in thinking that was correct and then realized
no, no, no that's not correct.
Blended out. Let the new value
correct the old value. And pick out something that's more accurate.
So there's the design of my tube.. Now the rendering
of the tube is pretty easy. It's a simple form there's not gonna be
a lot of little variations of shape, there's just
one big variation. This shape, which now really
is designed like this - like a box -
needs to conform with the
contour idea of the form. And that
contour idea says that it is straight, vertically
stiff and straight vertically, but it's curved like a ball
and so that means
with the ball we've gotta render it, gradate it
this way and gradate it this way. From light to shadow this way, from light to shadow this way.
In the cylindrical case we only have to gradate it
one way, it only curves out of light one way.
It drops out of light the other. So it just drops off the cliff, so we don't
about that, that's already taken care of just by drawing it in,
it conveys that. I don't have to do anything else to it.
I could do a lot of things in terms of rendering, we could have a
all sorts of secondary effects of bouncing, reflected light,
all that kinda stuff, but I don't have to do any of it.
What I've established there rings true.
That is correct for
the situation that we have and so we can just leave it.
Now I'm gonna load up my brush with a little bit
more of this paint and now I'm gonna
gradate it back
into the light and give a little gradation.
And it may well start
to turn away from us and curve this way, going over this way,
back in just like it curves this way, back in.
And so it may have a little
gradation here too. May or may not.
Depends on the situation. So look for it. Notice how this is
giving me trouble. I'm gonna go ahead and go right down through
and I'm not going back up because I don't want to drag that black darker - not black, that
darker value back up - I'm just going down hatching down, hatching down, hatching
down. And now I screwed up my drawing, I
come back and correct with the negative shape, this lighter shape.
Goofed up the drawing of the bottom of my tube, I'm gonna come back with the
darker shape and correct. And now I've got
my drawing back just
like it was never disturbed. I wanna be
a good enough draftsman that I don't have to worry about when I'm
painting. If I goof something up I'm gonna be able to fix that
relatively easy. That might mean an hours worth of
work, a moments worth of work, but relatively easily I can
control that problem and fix it.
Now when we have a highlight on a tube and we
don't always have a tube, but when we do that highlight of the tube is gonna track
all the way down the form this way.
And typically with tubes or
with any kind of long axis form
I'm gonna let that highlight fade out. I may not let it fade off that
strongly but typically I want to have it filled out. So if I've got a highlight coming
down my nose this way - now this is not a tube,
it's a little squarer than that, it's a little more oddball than that, it sticks out,
it varies and that kinda stuff, but it's a long axis tube.
This has a long axis to it.
As that highlight moves down it's usually a good strategy
to let it vary in value. It can go from a lighter highlight
to a diminished highlight. Or it can go from a
stronger highlight here and back and fade that way. Either way
in the observed effect in your set up, your model on the stage,
the photographic reference you're looking at or master painting, will tell you which
it's doing. And if it doesn't show you either one you could pick one and nobody would know the
difference. But having that variation as it moves is more
interesting because it's - as it changes it's going from light
to dark or in our case, from light to
dark it's varying in value. It might vary in thickness,
might vary in soft to hard edge, vary in any or almost
but that variation is interesting and that draws us along that change, that
dramatic change. Just like the story changes as you turn
the page. It's a real page turner. We're interested in what happens
next because every time we turn the page something new happens.
That difference, that change attracts attention. And actually the
audience will start to move along that length and they will feel the form
more truly. Even though it may not be a true effect
to the lighting situation. This may well have,
and probably would have been,
the same light value
all the way down. But when you do
that it's a little more boring and also
for we realist painters it's not very organic.
So organic things, living things, evolve
and change over time and we want those tones and shapes
to vary and evolve over time. We don't want them to look too much the same for too long,
it looks mechanical, which is what we have here.
A mechanical form. And that may be
absolutely appropriate. It might be a giant portrait of
a guy holding a giant pencil and that tube has to be perfect
but even so, we're better off -
I'm gonna come back over this - we're better off
dramatically having a variation.
And it can even be a variation technique. Notice that these strokes
are horizontal, this stroke is vertical.
that's a softer edge on that side, a harder edge on this side. I just came
back and stroked some of this value up against that value
and I get a soft edge. I can put the background
in and such but we won't do that. But anyway that's the tubular form, coming
down with a vertical -
vertically in this case, so it could be laying this way.
And we want the gradation to go that way, the highlight
will be more interesting if it gets its own little gradation that fades
this way. Now we have a change in
values, it's getting lighter, lighter, lighter,
darker, darker, darker, really dark and then this is going from light to dark too.
Gradation that way, gradation that way. But the formal - this is a
kind of a romantic gradation. This creates interest and mood,
difference, says it's more lively, more organic, more sophisticated
but it's not necessarily more correct, it actually may be less correct.
Less physically true to the situation.
But emotionally it will feel more appropriate often times.
Now the last thing we can do is give a little bit of
variation in the shadow. And we're not
gonna render the shadow in any of these early demos because it's
more work and it's more
sophisticated, it's more trouble. So we're not gonna do any rendering
because we have a whole new set of value gradations in the shadow
side and let's just not mess with that because we don't have to mess with it.
It's not necessary to get a great sense of form and structure.
All we do is we show the shadow as distinctly
darker than the light side. Notice that when I squint all the
shadows group darker and all the lights group lighter. The very
darkest light is getting fairly close to the
to the lightest shadow.
Let's do this. But we don't want it to get so
close that they're confused. And we want a nice
border or core
right down here
separating this. This darker band or core
gives the feeling of reflected light, which is truer to
nature. Nature has the direct light source and the indirect light source. See my
laws of light lectures for a full explanation of that
but having that sense of that secondary light is important for us
and that sense of realism. It's not crucial, but it's useful.
And so we put that in there with a little shortcut. Put a little
banding core there and we'll feel like the shadows are
rendered when we really didn't render it at all, we just laid in a soft edges core.
And then all the work was in the light side and the most important work
was where light met shadow, where you get a good value
change, you're gonna get a good structural change. It's gonna step and change in space,
we're gonna feel that three dimensional
chiaroscuro effect. And where we add the gradation
and that's gonna fine tune that form so that
it's rounding off into shadow rather than dropping off into shadow.
Alright so back up here. So we need
then a little core of darkness up here.
And notice I'm just hatching it in,
little hatches so that I can let it set down in and not
gob on top of the paint I already have and also so I can
make it a softer edge there. So
there's my shadow effect. That's all
I have to do. We had a little bit of gradation
here I added. And I shouldn't have really
this quick but that's okay. But all we have to have is this shape
and this initial shape without the gradation and the audience will do the rest.
They won't be fooled into thinking it's an absolute illusion of a bowl
but they'll clearly get the idea that it's a bowl.
They'll feel it and sense it and that lack of information
in the shadows and the lack of information in the
half tone they'll fill in for you. But
the roundness is typically, in most lighting situations, roundness
is typified by a lot of gradation where the
darker tones are blending towards the lighter tones
and vice versa in much of the
areas of those forms. So we're gonna have, just like we had
here, a darker edge coming down here, we're gonna have a darker edge over here.
And then we're gonna have this
gradate up and this
And notice I go - and it's starting to go back to the light
value too quickly it feels like so I drop my brush back down into the
darker body of paint
that's on there and drag it back up again. And then I'm gonna come over here. And
notice that this wobbled. And so I did the wobbles
in stages. I did the gradations, each
gradation, at the different angles. And in this
case three stages. And then if it didn't - if they got kinda
overlapped and gummed up I can then come over and
blend across. But they did okay because I used a very light touch.
Notice how I've got some paint on my brush - not a lot but
I'm going so light I'm barely touching the canvas. I'm not pushing dark enough
to really drop any, just a tiny little bit, but really any
value. Now I have to push harder and harder
and harder to get that paint onto the surface. That's what I wanna
do in these areas where I'm doing my subtle
variations, my subtle gradations. I start out with a really light touch and I can
even kinda ghost over the surface so I'm not actually
touching the canvas and slowly lower down to the canvas
or move towards the canvas and actually make contact and then more and more
forceful contact. And that allows
me to have a light touch. Now that won't work, that
technique, if you're really loaded up. If you have a big wad, a big
glob of paint on there then any little touch is gonna leave a lot of paint.
But if you have relatively little amounts on
your brush and you can wipe it off, wipe it off, or wipe it off to
make sure you have a little amount, then you can go ahead and
do your stuff there. Alright so we've got now the form
turning just that quickly.
And had we not taken our little interlude for our tube
we'd be done - long done by now.
Now I'm gonna go for my lightest half tone
Now that's close to the highlight, it's almost pure white, I have a light
gray there but look what happens now. I'm gonna lay in that little
glob like it was a highlight but wipe off most of
the paint. And now I'm gonna blend this back in
surrounding tones that I've already
built into my painting.
Now I'm doing a gradation with the
light tones rather than a gradation with the darker tones.
And it can be painterly
or it can be very carefully rendered. That's just
a matter of taste, that has nothing to do really with
the accuracy. The audience will read things either way just
Okay so I did it in about three stages there.
Just this lighter area. I
put in a little dab of lighter value paint
and then I blended it into the surrounding curvature
so it all melded down into those darker values. We kept that gradation. And I
came back on top of it again and laid those in and blended
those back in so it got even lighter, turning more.
I left that a little more painterly just
for in terms of technique. That was
what I thought would be more interesting, more beautiful
and then I - but I could have blended it right in. And
then I added a last little highlight there. But notice that that highlight
doesn't have a lot of impact
because it's - the lighter half tone is so strong already
that that last - I'm gonna look at it from where you're at because
mine is shiny at my angle. There's not a lot of
pop. You can definitely see the highlight on there but there's not a lot of pop because I
pushed the half tones so much lighter. They're almost as light as
the highlight. Had I left
the half tones darker -
and that's what we're going to do with this concavity
of the inside of the bowl. The outside, the convex, bulging side
is closer to us in doing that. We're gonna make the
binding in, the
dug out contour, the crater, the concavity,
it's gonna be darker.
And now I'm putting a much darker highlight
in there. But let's go ahead and put a white highlight in there for a second.
Now look at how much that jumps out. That really
pops out doesn't it. As you're looking. Because I
put the surrounding value so much darker,
it's not darker like a shadow dark but it's relatively darker
than my white or near-white highlight.
And so it really pops - you get a lot of snap to that
and it gives a lot of energy to it. And it makes
it shinier, smoother. The smiley - the smiley -
the shinier, smoother, or wetter
surfaces are gonna pick up more highlight. So if I'm painting my
portrait of that man under the hot spotlight and he starts to
sweat, the oily sweat starts to cover his face, then
all the sudden all those highlights will start to get stronger and stronger and brighter and brighter.
You'll start to see highlights. You'll get highlights under here, his forehead'll pick up a little,
flickering highlights, because that wet surface, that oily wet surface, is all catching
strong light and going crazy. So anything
that's wet, smooth, slick, close to -
closer to the light source or
affected by a stronger light source will all
have brighter highlights. Now I'm gonna take this
highlight off. And I'm gonna
I wipe it off, I wiped it off. Took it off the canvas.
Could have done it with a pallet knife too. And then I wipe that paint off the brush. Now I'm gonna
come back and I'm gonna put that back, restore it to where it was more or
less and now I'm gonna do it again.
Do it again.
And make it a very subtle highlight. Let me look where you've go it.
That's actually - that's subtle from where I'm at, not as subtle
from where you're at. Excuse me for a second.
I see it.
There we go. Alright.
A subtle highlight. Now by doing that I've done what a
landscape painter would do. In a landscape painting
we're gonna know that as those mountain ranges go back into
that atmosphere, miles and miles back with each mountain range, each
peak, that the mountains are gonna start to be affected by
aerial perspective. There's linear perspective where there's vanishing points.
Everything goes back to one point perspective, all the buildings go down
to the eye level down the middle of the street. Go look at our wonderful
perspective lectures by Erik Olson to see those.
See the reasoning behind that and the mechanics,
how to capture that. But we have linear perspective and then we have
aerial perspective. Aerial perspective is the perspective of the atmosphere.
Not the lines converging to some
point in space but the values and colors
converging and starting to group together as
distance grows. So as we go back into the blue sky
those mountain ranges will start to become bluer. As we
go back into the middle value sky, that
mountain ranges will begin to become more middle value too. So
the white snow peaks will become darker and darker
and darker and darker and bluer and bluer and bluer as they go back into that
atmosphere. And the dark, craggy mountains, rocks
of the mountain will start to get lighter in value and bluer
as they go back. And eventually the very light, snow capped mountains
the very dark, craggy rocks down below, will
all end up at the same middle value and all their color differences
will end up in the same blue. And then eventually they'll fade out
and be lost in the foggy atmosphere of the sky and you won't
see them at all. That's aerial perspective. But instead of miles and miles
and miles, we have a couple meager inches.
But we can still use aerial perspective. So I'm gonna make the half
tone - the lighter half tone of the bowl here - much lighter.
Or at least a little lighter. And the lightest half tone
in the dished out, the concavity that's a couple inches
back into our dark environment,
a little darker. It's going back into this dark world just like the mountains
go back into their blue world. And then the highlights likewise. I wanna make
this highlight stronger, more contrasting, and this
highlight weaker, more subtle. So I'm gonna make this
rounded part of the painting a slightly more subtle
group of values and this rounded part of the painting
a slightly more contrasted and stronger group of
values. And I wanna take a look at it again and make sure it tracks pretty well
and it does okay for what we're doing here. Now we might have other
little highlights that catch so you might
want to do a little bit of the rim here.
And what I might be thinking here - let me put a stronger highlight here,
right there. I might be thinking that
the curvature of the bowl
curves down that way. And so I'm gonna let the
highlight track along that
Okay. And then we can play with edges.
Now we've played with soft edges all the way along because
we wanted to round the form. And nothing like softness
says roundness. But we can also use
soft edges to lose the form. So the relatively
dark shadow of the bowl
and the relatively dark shadow of the cast shadow behind
the bowl, we might make
a very strong - again I'm gonna take a look at this
here. We might make
quite strong here
and let it fade out in
here. So we lose that bowl up in here.
And then maybe we pick it up again just a little bit
in there let's say. So we can use
lost edges to lose areas that aren't very interesting or soft
edges to soften the interest to make it slightly less
interesting. So soft edges can round a form but they can
also start to distract our interest. If we get a softer
edge, let's do it over here.
Softer edge. Now that side of the bowl
is not gonna attract as much attention as
this rim of the bowl
with its hard
edges. So we'll get more attracted to that area, less
attracted to this other area. Soft
edge, lost edge.
I can lose the edge completely
and then come back and redraw it.
are great for rounding form, for
affecting the interest. We gradate that edge into a softer or lost edge
it affects the interest. Or for flaring out
a contrast and making it more contrasting.
So I'm gonna force the front of the table
and lighter and then
I'm gonna allow this side of the table and this back end
of the table to go darker and darker and darker.
to show the back side of that cast shadow
and then it's gonna fade off
this way. And maybe we'll have a
soft edge here.
Maybe a little hard edge right there.
And we can also just kinda go
crazy with the edges. And instead of a soft edge, we could make them
a kind of a ragged edge.
Or a jagged edge. A ragged edge is where the
edge gets kinda
bumpy or saw toothed, zigzaggy.
If zigzaggy's a word. Like
this. And a jagged edge is where they actually break off. We take
the value or color and have it
actually disintegrate and break off into the surrounding values.
That's what I did right here. We have these strokes of the lighter
half tone of the ball actually breaking into the silhouette
of the darker background of the table.
And so that's a jagged. And then the last
edge - well
actually not the last - another edge is we could
lose the edge completely and then come back -
see if I got it for you - come back with a subtle
line and separate that bowl in line.
The last edge. And I'll review these.
And I've done it in other lectures
is you can - rather than having a gradation to
describe the form, let's take this bottom half of the tube.
I'll do what I call a three step.
There we go. Now can you see
how instead of just blending over - let's have this blend a little bit
You notice I have to create this gymnastic
moves to get my hand, to get the brush in the right
position to make the stroke I need. And so if I didn't have the camera
I'd maybe come over here and do it this way. You can find the angle you need
and that can be tricky to articulate that brush
with a angle that's in some dynamic position.
But anyway, instead of gradating over
this way I'm
now stepping over.
Step, step, step.
Let's just do this for now.
Notice we've put a
third little plane between the two major planes. We have the light side,
we have the shadow side. Now I'm gonna put a third plane, a darker half tone in there.
And notice it can also be more than three steps.
We actually have four steps in there.
Let me get rid of this.
And let me
and make it harder edges. Now notice
that little core shadow that we did is actually
a little facet. So this three step
which is now one, two, three, four steps and
could be easily
five steps or it could be 65 steps,
is like facets of
Let me just clean this up here. Facets of a
diamond. Now you can see it a little bit better I hope. One facet, two facets,
three facets, four facets, five facets,
Like I said it can be as many facets as you would like,
But what we have now is
and a plane. Turn it over and we can feel that
volume move. So let's review
We can have a hard edge, we can have
a soft edge,
we can have a lost edge
those are your three major edges. Let me get the right number of fingers there.
Hard, soft, and lost. But now the soft, the middle one,
we can have
variations on that. We can have, instead of a soft edge,
we can have a jagged
edge or a ragged, broken edge
or three step edge. We can have four different -
oh that's three different. And then a lost edge with a line.
Rediscovering it. Four different variations of that
soft edge. Hard, soft, lost, but soft can
be done in all sorts of interesting, painterly ways. And all that does
really, because they're all just hard, soft, and lost. All that other
stuff was just variations of the soft I said. What that does though
is gives you several ways to bring paint together. And so
if you're gonna be painterly, you're gonna allow the process and the
strokes, the medium, to come through a little bit and sneak through
the illusion of the form, being painterly, then
you want to have an interesting ways for the paint to come together. Because that's gonna
be part of the charm of the painting is how do we bring that light against the shadows.
How do we bring that foreground against the background. how do we bring the rich
color against the gray color. How do we go from direct
light to ambient light. How we move
incrementally from one paint visually to another
is gonna be part of the fun. And so
dramatic - or number choices
is gonna be more helpful, more
useful, and more interesting hopefully
than just a couple choices.
whatever we did in terms of technique,
hard, soft, lost, jagged, ragged, three step,
lost with line. We need these
to track correctly. And so all we're doing
is we're looking for the value and the light separate from the value of the shadow.
The values in the foreground separating from the values in the
background. Sometimes the foreground and background will be
exactly the same. Or very, very close.
Sometimes they'll be distinctly different. Sometimes they'll be areas
that are very interesting that we want to show off. We'll put
more contrast. Sometimes we'll have more areas that we want slightly less
interesting. We'll put lesser contrast. And sometimes we'll have
areas where we want almost no interest so we'll put almost no
contrast. All choice. Observing the
effect that we see in the environment and then making choices
about that. Let's restore
this tube because I wanna be able to take a picture of it for you
to refer to
in the lesson.
We'll fix that. And then I have one other
thing I wanna show you and we will be done.
And move on to new, greater heights hopefully.
Make it a little stronger just so you can see it.
There we go. Alright. Now the last thing -
actually there's a couple things I wanna show you - is
That's the last of the major forms.
gonna allow this side of the box - we're gonna have the same lighting scheme
that we had for the tube and the
bowl. And this has a lot of
muck around it because of all the drawings I did as I explained
things so we're gonna put an environment around this one.
maybe we'll just do a real dark environment.
Okay. And notice with that toned canvas
it looks like I have a nice environment setting up
already. Because that white doesn't
throw off, doesn't make us suspect
it's artificial. That white is now accurate
to whatever situation we might have, we're pretty confident as viewers
and so we're not buying into it and we're not going to
then get the effect that we artists want our viewers
to get. Alright so
there it's laid in. And then I'm gonna go ahead and mix a
Notice when I come to an interruption I go along the
border and now I'm gonna bump the top of the box up
against the environment. Now I'm gonna bump the
side of the box
against the environment. I can do any of those
soft, lost edge tricks on that
but we're just gonna lay this in. Okay now notice
with a box we have all flat
planes by definition. Cylinder we have rounded
planes going this way, horizontally in this case, flat, straight
planes going vertically in this case. That's why that highlight and that
core shadow are straight lines. In any kind of
egg, ball, bowl
situation, everything gradates in every direction. And so we're gonna have
gradations in every direction. But we're not gonna need any gradations on
the box. You don't have to have any gradations on the box.
However you're gonna want some.
For - it could be all sorts of different
reasons. It can be the fact that the light source
is a spotlight that drops off. meaning
it gets weaker as we get farther from it it affects
our forms, in this case our box,
with less and less power. And so the top of the form gets very
strongly lit by our spotlight
but the bottom of the form
gets very weakly lit
by our spotlight. Doesn't have enough juice to keep going
we may - will want a gradation in fact
the bottom of this
might get all or
almost completely lost.
Let me get that effect here.
There we go. We almost can't
see where the bottom of the box meets the
side of the box here because that light source is
so weak as it comes down. And that's gonna be typically man made
light sources. They're not gonna have the power to sustain
all the way down a length. And it might be several edges
or several feet, but eventually the man made light sources will
poop out. They won't have the juice to keep
lighting that all the way
down the form in this case. Whereas the sun - the sun doesn't care,
it's a lot - it's far away anyway. And so
it doesn't matter if it's lighting the mountain peak or the mountain valley, it's gonna
light it with the same candle power, the same intensity, the same
value all the way through. So you're not gonna have a drop off,
you will have a drop off that's very obvious or barely
noticeable with man made light. And then you can choose as the artist
to affect that.
There is all sorts of reasons to put gradations in the shadows,
but not the drop off of the direct light source because that direct light source
is only lighting this panel, this one plane of the
three visible planes of our box. It is not throwing any light
into this shadow plane so it's not gonna affect that shadow plane. But we can have
other effects, other bouncing light effects that I'm not gonna go
into because it'll just get too confusing. But we will, when we
get into our outdoor impressionist color theory, we'll go into
the shadows and I'll show you how there can be a whole
variation of values and colors in the shadows for
all these technical reasons that I'll actually explain
but don't really matter. We just wanna know what we can
do and we can do a lot in the shadows. But for now we're not gonna do much. All we're gonna do
is we're gonna give a core shadow again.
There it is. You can't talk when you do a core shadow.
And the inside of that core shadow in the shadows
should be slightly soft edged.
Now notice what happens naturally
when I paint. I get a load of
paint on my brush. And then no matter how much I have
on there, just like that man made candle power, eventually
it gives out. And so you'll get a natural gradation
happening when you put down a stroke of paint
it will - you'll have less and less load on your brush, more
and more of the paint will stick to the canvas in this case, but whatever surface it is
and as you go down you get a natural gradation. And that's what happened when we did the
highlight down the tube, that's what's happening when we're doing the
core shadow down the box. It naturally faded off and
your set up may well, and probably would
likely show that effect unless we had a real
strong indirect light. But I'm gonna let that
happen because I like that gradation. Now the dark, core
shadow and the super light half tone are more
contrasting against each other. It's gonna attract our viewers attention more.
And down here, our core shadow is more in the
mid range and so is our half tone. Less contrasting, less
attention. Notice that it's a hard edge all the way down
because it's a box. But we can also do the same techniques. Now if I
soften that edge or use a jagged, ragged
three step it's gonna start to round it across like a cylinder.
So I don't want to do anything to that edge.
But I can do it to the outside edge.
That can be a slightly
softened edge or
a broken edge or any of those other edges choices.
Or it could be completely lost
just to make it fade out. And why would it soften
in physical theory? It could
soften for all sorts of reasons. It could soften because there's so much
flare of light on there it flares off in the camera lens.
It can soften because it's out of focus.
This - we put our camera on this and we got that in perfect
focus. But it had a very shallow depth of field,
which means as wherever that focus point is, anything
that's behind it or in front of it starts to go
out of focus. And it may take a long time for it to go out of focus. For
example, I'm in the depth of field and now
watch what happens, eventually I'm gonna blur out aren't I?
Because I'm out of that depth of field. If I could walk back through the easel and get
behind it I would blur out that way too.
So here it's in focus, here it's
out of focus. And so it softens and if it's out of focus there
we should probably have it out of focus here.
And maybe this'll be a ragged edge that way.
So we can do all sorts of effects. Or here the half
tone basically got lost in the shadows. And I'm gonna come back and pick up
that shadow difference with a line again, using our line
idea. So you can get quick, creative, and quite
painterly with a box and still have it as a box. So
boxes don't round off. So we don't use
gradation to round them off, but they do drop off in interest,
drop off in light, drop off in focus. And so we can
use gradation for that and we can also have a
plane in space.
And so let's take the table
top and as it lays back in space and
goes back into this dark environment, let's show how that
dark environment swallows
it up with aerial perspective. It's going back like the mountain ranges
and fades off.
And I'm gonna get rid of those little dabs so they don't look like highlights. Fades
Fades off. I'm just -
it can be painterly. Fades
off. So that - let's push that a little stronger.
A little stronger.
There we go. So that fades off that way, fades off that way.
I can do it in a painterly way, a little more smooth way or absolutely, perfectly rendered way.
This is fairly rendered here. But those gradations -
now we can use gradation on a boxy plane which is this tabletop
and have it go back to help - let me try that again -
have that gradation now service to lay that plane
down. We haven't drawn the front of the table, we haven't drawn any of the limits
of this flat tabletop. And so there's
no clues to show us how it's sitting in space. And if I were
a post impressionist - like a Cézanne - I might want to
start to flatten that panel back up. That tabletop. I might lift it up to
distort it. But since I'm not a Cézanne I want
that tabletop to lay down in space, I have no drawn
clue. Here I have the edges, the edges, the limits of the form.
I don't need all the limits of the form but I need some of the limits of the form
to describe the character of the form. In this case all I have is value
to describe the limits and so I'm gonna show that this is a
squarish form - that it's a squarish form that's not
in this orientation, it's in this orientation. It's going back
in like this. We're slightly on top of that tabletop, so I'm gonna give
a gradation to show that tabletop fades back into this
dark, dark world in this case. We have
all flat planes by definition. Cylinder we
have rounded planes going this way, horizontally in this case,
flat, straight planes going vertically in this case. That's why that
highlight and that core shadow are straight lines.
In any kind of egg, ball,
bowl situation, everything gradates in every direction.
And so we're gonna have gradations in every direction. But we're not gonna need any
gradations on the box. You don't have to have any gradations
on the box. However you're gonna
want some. For
could be all sorts of different reasons. It could be the fact that the light
source is a spotlight that drops off.
Meaning it gets weaker as we get farther
from it, it affects our forms,
our box with less and less power. And so the
top of the form gets very strongly lit by our
spotlight but the
bottom of the form gets very weakly
lit by our spotlight. It doesn't have enough juice
to keep going.
And so we may well want a
gradation. In fact the bottom of this
box might get
all or almost completely lost.
Let me get that effect here. There we go.
We almost can't see where the bottom of the box
meets the side of the box here. Because that
light source is so weak as it comes down. And that's gonna be
typically man made light sources. They're not gonna have the power
to sustain all the way down a length. And it might be
several inches or several feet but eventually the man made
light sources will poop out. They won't have the
juice to keep lighting that all the way
down the form in this case. Whereas the sun, the sun doesn't
care, it's a lot of - it's far away anyway.
And so it doesn't matter if it's lighting the mountain peak or the mountain
valley, it's gonna light it with the same candle power, the same
intensity, the same value all the way through. So you're not gonna have a drop off of
sunlight. You will have a drop off that's very obvious or
barely noticeable with man made light. And then you can choose
as the artist to affect that. Now notice that I haven't put
a gradation in the shadows. There's all sorts of reasons to put
gradations in the shadows, but not the drop off of the direct light source
because that direct light source is only lighting this panel, this
one plane of the three visible planes of our box. It is not
throwing any light into this shadow plane so it's not gonna affect that
shadow plane. But we can have other effects, other bouncing
light effects that I'm not gonna go into because it'll just get too confusing but
we will, when we get into our outdoor impressionist color
theory, we'll go into the shadows. And I'll show
you how they're can be a whole variation of values and colors
in the shadows for all these technical reasons
that I'll actually explain but don't really matter. We just wanna know
what we can do and we can do a lot in the shadows. But for now
we're not gonna do much. All we're gonna do is we're gonna give a
core shadow again.
There it is. You can't talk when you do a
core shadow. And the inside of that
core shadow in the shadows
should be slightly soft edged. Now
notice what happens naturally when I paint: I get a load of
paint on my brush and
then no matter how much I have on there, just like that man made candle power
eventually it gives out. And so you'll get
a natural gradation happening when you put down a
stroke of paint. You'll have less and less load
on your brush, more and more of the paint will stick to the canvas in this case
but whatever surface it is. And as you go down you'll get a natural gradation.
And that's what happened when we did the highlight down the tube, that's what's
happening when we're doing the core shadow down the box. It naturally faded off.
And your set up may well and probably
wouldn't most likely show that effect.
Unless we had a real strong indirect light.
But I'm gonna let that happen because I like that gradation. Now the
dark core shadow and the super light half
tone are more contrasting against each other. It's gonna attract
our viewers attention more. And down here, our core
shadow is more in the mid range and so is our half tone. Less
contrasting, less attention. Notice that it's a hard edge
all the way down because it's a box. But we can also
do the same techniques. Now if I soften that edge
and use a jagged, ragged three step it's gonna start to round it
across like a cylinder. So I don't wanna do anything to
that edge. But
I can do it to the outside edge.
That can be a slightly softened edge
or a broken edge or any of those other edges
choices or it can be completely lost.
soften in physical
theory? It could soften for all sorts of reasons. It could soften because there's so much
flare of light on there it flares off in the camera
lens. It can soften because it's out of
focus. This - we put our camera on this and we got
that in perfect focus but it had a very shallow depth of
field, which means as - wherever that
focus point is, anything that's behind it or in front of it
starts to go out of focus. And it may take a long time
for it to go out of focus. For example, I'm in the depth
of field and now watch what happens. Eventually I'm gonna blur out
aren't I? Because I'm out of that depth of field. And if I walk back through the
easel and get behind it I would blur out that way too.
So here it's in focus,
here it's out of focus. And so it softens
and if it's out of focus there we should probably have it out of focus
here. And maybe this'll be a ragged edge
that way. So we can do all sorts of effects. Or
here the half tone basically got lost in the shadows so I'm gonna
come back and pick up that shadow difference with a line
again using our line idea. So you can get quite
creative, even quite painterly with a box and still have it as a box.
So boxes don't round
off. So we don't use gradation to round them off but they do
drop off in interest, drop off in light, drop off in
focus. And so we can use gradation for that. And we can also
have a plane
in space. And so let's take the
table top and as it
lays back in space and goes back into this dark environment,
let's show how that
dark environment swallows it up with aerial perspective. It's going back like
the mountain ranges and fades off.
And I'm gonna get rid of those little dabs so they don't look like
highlights. Fades off.
Fades off. I'm just
gonna be painterly.
Fades off. So that - let's push that a little
Little stronger. There we go. So it fades off that way.
Can do it in a painterly way, a little more smooth way, or absolutely
perfectly rendered way. This is fairly rendered here. But those
gradations now we can use gradation on a boxy
plane, which is this table top, have that gradation now serviced
to lay that plane down. We haven't drawn the front of the table, we haven't drawn any
of the limits of this flat tabletop.
And so there's no clues to show us how it's sitting in space.
And if I were a post impressionist, like a Cézanne,
I might wanna start to flatten that panel back up. That tabletop
I might lift it up and distort it. But since I'm not a Cézanne
I want that tabletop to lay down in space, I have no
drawn clues. Here I have the edges, the edges,
the limits of the form. I don't need all the limits of the form, but I need
some of the limits of the form to describe the character of the form. In this case all I have
is value to describe the limits. And so I'm gonna show that this is a
squarish form, that it's a
squarish form that's not in this orientation, it's in this orientation.
It's going back in like this. We're slightly on top of that tabletop.
So i'm gonna give a gradation to show that tabletop fades back in
into this dark, dark world in this case.
And so the gradation
helps to describe the boxy form in affect.
In this case. Because it lays back. I'm gonna take a look at it here to see
if it does okay, does okay. Not great but
that's okay. We're not after great we're after information.
what we want then is we want
in this case to show it fading back.
Fading back. So
gradation now can do several things. It can have
something drop out of light, it can have something round off,
it can have something fade out of depth of field, it can have something lay in a
perspective space. So for example, if I were to draw
the rooms behind the camera, where the walls -
let me get my hands in here - the walls and the floor and ceiling going
back in linear perspective, getting farther from me, I could
draw that nice, linear perspective, have them all vanish at a vanishing point
all at my eye level vanishing point, bingo.
All my drawn lines would reinforce the depth of things
going ever farther away as they come towards the center of the composition.
But if I want to get the true illusion of that I would also
get those values to change in value in some way as they're
as they're moving farther from me
to that point they get lighter and lighter and lighter and lighter.
Or as they move back to that point they get darker and darker and darker and darker, it doesn't matter which.
Pick one. You can't have this go light, this go dark, this go middle, this go nothing.
You have to be consistent. But those planes can change in some way
and as long as they change consistently they change in value
or even the change in color or even the change in technique.
Thicker paint to thin will all reinforce that going away quality.
So if you looked at a Rembrandt, a lot of thick paint here,
all thin paint here. This actually has a sculptural effect that draws that
forehead and that nose out toward you. So we have all sorts of
strategies for getting things to go back in space beyond the
linear, drawn perspective. One of those -
actually the most powerful of those - is value. it does more
work, more yeoman's work to create
depth than anything else. And this is one example here
and this is one example here and this is one example here. Fading out
in all the ways it can fade out. By dropping off light,
by dropping out of focus, rounding out in form, fading away
vanishing away from us in space. Alright so let's stop there.
We now have drawn and painted
very round forms, tubular forms, boxy forms.
Everything else beyond that, including
cones, which are just tapering tubes, all sorts of
convoluted wedges, you know it doesn't have to
have to be 90 degree angle box out forms, any kind of wedge form,
all those variations in the world come off these three shapes basically.
So we will stop there for this lesson, we'll come back with some new,
exciting idea and hopefully not too frustrating ideas
to talk about next time. I'd love you to practice this
rewind the lessons, watch them several times, not just
once. Let it soak in so it just becomes part of you,
you don't have to think about it and you just know it. That takes time and practice these.
Paint along with me, stop it, freeze it,
work on your own thing at your own little demo while that's
on the surface or let that - or that's on your screen - or
let that play in the background while you practice the same things or work on something else
but let these things seep in. Rather than just listening
to music maybe while you paint, which is great to do, list
to these lectures. Do that a little bit. If it distracts you
don't do that, but if it doesn't, if it's kind of comforting,
you got another artist in the studio as you're working, go ahead and have that going so that you
hear it over and over again, you see it over and over again, you try and
practice and demonstrate the lessons we learned here to see if you
can do them correctly. Give it a shot. And see if you can do it better.
It's a great thing if you look at your favorite artists. Look at
a Rembrandt or a Michelangelo or a Sargent and see what they
did wrong. Or at least what you would do different. Not
no matter how great those guys are they're gonna screw up
and if they're gonna screw up I'm certainly gonna screw up, so there's things you can do better here
than I did. See if you can't do it. Give it a try. So we will see
you next time.
Free to try
1. Introduction and lesson overview47sNow playing...
1. Starting your painting16m 39sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Understanding forms and light14m 31s
3. Working with gradations14m 23s
4. Working with shadows15m 22s
5. Working with direct light & shadows14m 16s
6. Finalizing your painting9m 47s