Monday, 22 November 2010

On Contrast

I am not sure what's behind it, experience or style or just getting older, but lately I came to realise that to me the standard improvement of an aquarelle (and, by the way, of a painting in general) always lies in the "contrast" - and mainly the contrast between light and dark. In other words, to improve - make the shadow darker. If you add a good one, your painting becomes more sunny, more interesting... It often works even better if you overdo it a bit... Of the portrait above I don't have the "before" picture, but you see what I mean - the shadows are very strong and as far as I remember I painted them much heavier than they were.
It works on almost everything:
An example of a house that looked very bland - until I added contrast practically on everything...

And one I recently finished - making the shadow slightly darker gives the whole image a sunnier look...
Yet sometimes things just don't end up as you would expect... This is an Xmas ball by Cathie van der Stel that she declared in the category "tear up and throw away". I didn't agree and claimed to be able to make it interesting with a bit of contrast... but it just got darker... o well, it was good fun to do it and you can't have it all!
Starting next week I'll introduce one of our aquarellistas and their work to you  each week - it is amazing that a group which works so peaceful together, has members whose work is so completely different. But they're all great! The reports on what we have actually achieved on the Tuesday will stay too, but they'll move to another blog, as a matter of fact, the blogspot of the atelier where we get together, the Hangar...
It's just been set up, no information on it yet, but if you are interested anyway - this is the link:

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