Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Getting to grips with reflections

6" x 8" oil on panel

Whether its water, metal or glass, its the reflections that interest me.  Many people believe that painting or drawing reflections is difficult, but its all down to close observation of shapes and colours.  And of course magic. Joking!  There's no magic in art, there's lots of looking, lots of thinking and lots of practice.

So how to get to grips with reflections? 

1. Slow down.  Take time to really observe what is in front of you.  Our brains like to rush us past things; we take in the overview but never really see the detail.  The detail is what makes or breaks reflections.

2.Look at the environment.  Reflections pick up colour or shapes from objects nearby or the environment surrounding them. 

3. Highlights aren't all white.  The very brightest highlights where light hits the object straight on are often white, but even they have a tinge of another colour in many cases.  Subtle value changes in the same or complimentary colours show how light wraps around a subject by changing from lighter to darker values.

4. Look at shapes.  The shapes of light and dark areas, not just the subject is what reflects light.  Plan your underdrawing to include the shapes of all areas where light changes.  It becomes your guide for placement in painting.