Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Bright Winter Day at Johnstown Castle

Our plein air group went to nearby Johnstown Castle and gardens on Sunday last. After a dull, misty start, it turned into a beautiful clear day. I only did the one painting (I think staring into the sun took its toll on my eyes!).

February Morning, Johnstown Castle
(14" x 11" Oil on Board)

This is a photo of the scene taken before I started:-


Mick Carney said...

Your painting certainly extracts a lot more detail and interest than the photograph. Is there an argument for making a few more darker value marks?

Michael McGuire said...

Thanks Mick. Most photos tend not to differentiate between darks and mid-darks. They also tend to push all light values into almost white.
The way to make a backlight scene look visually real is to try to capture what the eye sees, and that's not maximising value contrast. Try it next time you're walking down a street facing a low sun. You will not see people as black shapes, but rather something closer to mid-dark with a warm glow and possibly "halos" at the upper extremities. The key thing is that you won't recognise any features - they will appear as almost flat shapes.

So, if the sun was closer to the horizon here then I would have had even less detail in the tree masses. But I would probably have made their values lighter and warmer nearest the light source.