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Old 02-19-2008, 10:30 AM   #1
Vianna Szabo Vianna Szabo is offline
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Theater gel for dramatic lighting




I treated myself to the purchase of theater gel over the holidays and this is my first attempt at working with it. Theater gel is a sheet of colored transparent material that you place between the light source and the subject. It casts very dramatic colors and causes the shadows to become equally rich and exciting. I enjoy it because it gives me a chance to experiment with unusually saturated colors rather than extremes of value.

I used orange gel for this sketch. I also have violet which I think will go well with darker skin tones and red which is reallydramatic.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:51 AM   #2
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Vianna,

I love the way this painting has turned out! How exciting and fun! I plan to go some gel and play, thanks for the inspiration

I remember using red filters for my black and white photography way back when, and the values were thrilling.

Please most more colors!
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:30 AM   #3
Enzie Shahmiri Enzie Shahmiri is offline
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Is theatre gel a filter? I am not familiar with it - would you please explain what it is.
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Old 02-19-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
Vianna Szabo Vianna Szabo is offline
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Theater gel set up

Thanks Chris, it was a lot of fun and I am hoping to really utilize it in the near future. Enzie, I am not certain what the material is but I have included a photo of the studio set up. It comes in a large sheet that I keep rolled up in a tube to protect it. To use I duct tape a dowel to a tripod and then hang the gel from the dowel using artists tape. You can see that I placed the light behind the gel and the model's chair in front. The major problem is setting it up so that the model is lit but I am not staring into the light source.

I did this skecth as practice because I have a great model coming to the art center who will be dressed as a voyager. I thought it would be a fun challenge for the students to paint him in costume using the gel.

I would love to see how others use this.
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:40 AM   #5
Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco is offline
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Vianna, I have a sheet of blue gel which I use when I need to paint after dark.
I have set it in a similar way to yours- I taped it onto a wire hanger folded into a square- as a cheaper solution instead of special daylight bulbs. It's in front of a 500w halogen that would otherwise make a very yellow light.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:32 AM   #6
Vianna Szabo Vianna Szabo is offline
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Ilaria, I never thought of using it for correcting light temperature. That would have saved me from some bad night painting experiences I had before I got my wonderful lunichrome lights.

I am going to try making some different hangers. The duct tape and dowel contraption is OK, but too hard to set up for different classes.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:47 PM   #7
Clayton J. Beck III Clayton J. Beck III is offline
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Vianna,

I love playing with new lighting and I did nearly an identical study about 10 or 15 years ago and I just came across it recently. I was specifically studying the effect that a strong warm side light had on the relatively soft, cool light on the rest of the head. In particular, the edges with in the cool lighting. Amazing how great mind think alike, ha!

"Erin" pastel 24" x 18"
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #8
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Clayton, how luscious. You two have me energized to try this exciting color stuff!
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:53 PM   #9
Vianna Szabo Vianna Szabo is offline
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Hi Clayton and Chris
It's so much fun to use different lighting to transform the mundane into an irresistable painting subject. The theater gel makes all the colors so extreme. I did this one recently along with my students. It was interesting because the red light caused the shadow to be an intense green. The blues on the upper planes are from the flouresents that light the studio.
Clayton, I love your sketch. Your work is so painterly.
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