Monday, September 27, 2010

Skull Arch

Painting 1.30 Skull Arch. This arch was an especially challenging subject. The two-arch formation seems so surreal and improbable that it might just look like I was painting a picture of a wall and decided to throw in two random blue blobs in the middle of it. In an attempt to make this scene believable I looked at all the pictures I had taken of this arch when I visited it and others that I found online for reference. Each picture showed the arch at a slightly different time of day, and each position of the sun cast vastly different shadows on the rock. Parts of the scene are depicted under mid-day light, while others are as they appear later in the afternoon. This allowed each piece of the scene to be shown in a way that was most easily imagined in three dimensions. I selected little bits of each picture to highlight different details of the arch, such as the background rocks seen through the arches which should look like they're being hit by more direct light. The foreground should appear to be lit by a combination of direct light and diffuse light, reflected from the opposing wall, behind the viewer. This meant that the shadows in the foreground needed to have a subtle glow to them.

One of the advantages of the plein air painter is that he is copying the original. If any detail is unclear, he can move around and look more closely to work it out. When painting from a photograph, one is making a copy of a copy and the scene has lost a lot already by being captured on film. This is why it helps to have multiple pictures of the same scene in different conditions. It will at least simulate the experience of sitting and watching a place for an extended period of time.

Giclee Print

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