Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fun with Backlighting

I decided to do a morning painting today so I could catch backlighting on the foreground trees. Backlit fall leaves create intensely saturated oranges and yellows. I walked up and down the walkway on the dam until I found a scene that included a suitable clump of backlit leaves, with a softly glowing hillside in the background.

The water was doing interesting things today. During the first 15 minutes I was scouting for a scene, foamy, undulating patterns of duckweed covered the entire lake. The sun reflected so harshly off the cloudy film that when I squinted down, there appeared to be ice on the lake. Not good for painting...I could imagine how confusing the result would be. The wind was blowing hard, and before long, all the scummy duckweed was cleared away, and the water was corrugated with sparkling ripples. This is definitely not a good day for painting reflections...the wind-chopped surface was a leaden blue, not picking up any of the fall colors. This is just as well, because in the scene I picked out, there were enough golden leaves breaking up the surface of the lake, that reflections would only add chaos to the mix.

So, here's the result. Next time I work with a large amount of backlit leaves like this, I think I should "mass" more. That will probably bring out the feel of illumination; breaking up the masses introduces more darkness than what I would like to see.

 Windy Morning - 8x10

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