Keeping Up With The Light

Morning light from behind the far cliff.

Early afternoon light

"Sharks Tooth Rock, AM"

oil on canvas, 16" x 20"

When painting the ocean shore, specifically the bluffs or cliffs, it is a race to capture the light.

Since there is little color in these cliffs, much of it is left to the artist to create and decide how he wants to represent them. The light, however, is what makes a painting come to life. Lighting from behind, contra jour in French, is particularly challenging because in a short time, that which is backlit is fully illuminated. So, the painter must memorize or sketch the light and shadow . . . then stick by that for the entire painting session . . .which means there is little reference to paint from as the painter develops the piece. Hence, we paint in haste!

Yesterday, we spent another morning and part of an afternoon painting atop a high precipice above sharks tooth rock. The difference in light is noticeable in both these pix . . . .morning (11 AM) and afternoon (1 PM) . . . .notice the far cliff is backlit. This was fascinating because the edges of that dark slab of rock and sandstone were lit up like neon (halation). The striking part of the morning light was the difference in value of the two cliff faces, in the light and out.

P.S. It was absolutely glorious weather yesterday! I sooooo needed a break from framing and putzing . . .I just couldn’t let such a great day slip away.

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