Portrait Artist Forum    

Go Back   Portrait Artist Forum > Posing & Lighting the Model


Reply
 
Topic Tools Display Modes
Old 10-22-2002, 09:54 PM   #1
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
PAINTING PORTRAITS
FROM LIFE MODERATOR

FT Professional
 
Michael Georges's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 846
The Importance of Light




I spent some time with William Whitaker. Bill paints a lot from life. Here is a bit of the talk we had about the importance of light - specifically natural light in painting from life:

First, thing Bill did when I came into his studio, was talk about light. His studio has one mostly north-facing window with a blind that adjusts from bottom to top and no form of artifical light - yes, that's right - no lights other than natural daylight.

He rolled a table into the light and placed a skull cast on the table. The high light from the window fell on it and it was just wonderful to look at. Light, he explained, is one of the holy grails of art. Daylight, natural daylight - our eyes are programmed to see in it. It is never too harsh and it models forms perfectly. It is how the old guys worked - it is the source of "Rembrandt Lighting". They didn't work by candle, torch, or lantern or lamp - they worked by daylight. From Bottecelli to Rembrandt, to Bouguereau - they painted with the natural light and when it got dark, they went to bed.

Our world is different from theirs. We have all grown up with photos, tv, magazines, etc. All of these things render forms under artificial lights. Almost all forms of artificial light are going to render any form much differently than what we were seeing in his studio - too warm or too bright. That is why we have so many orange portraits running around - natural light is much cooler and skin is much grayer than most of us think.

And, since we don't paint things, but the "light on things", it stands to reason that if you see it under a light that is too warm or too bright - then that is how you will paint it.

The other thing about North light is the fact that it will never be too bright. You will never get a highlight that is brighter than the white on your palette.

What is North Light?

The reason North facing windows have been preferred is because of the constantness of light coming in from a North window.

The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. During the day, at least in our hemosphere, the sun travels through the more Southern sky. This means that a true North window will get consistent daylight, but no direct sunlight.

This constant even and somewhat soft light source is why North windows are so coveted. Even better is if the window is quite high so you get a raking light angling down on your subject and your painting.

My window is at about 320 degrees North/NorthWest, so I get good light from about 8 a.m. to about 3 or 3:30 in the afternoon. It is not nearly high enough, but we make do with what we have.

Hope that helps!
__________________
Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com
Michael's Life Drawing & Painting Blog

Regular and consistent work from life will improve your portraits.
Drawing skills are the foundation of all an artist does.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2002, 07:55 AM   #2
Lisa Strachan Lisa Strachan is offline
Associate Member
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 15
smile Interesting Michael

This was good to take in Michael, even though it concerns the Southern light here in the land of Oz.

I have re-arranged my easel in my studio since talks here-about the best light and, even though I have nearly finished my current portrait, I have noticed a better setup within a day! It really has help me get the best light!

I can imagine it would be perfect for a pose, with all the talk about lighting the studio, I have been somewhat bewildered, I don't think we even have some of the lights here that the forum discusses! I think I am lucky with our Queensland sunshine, it is bright, constant ( 7:00am till 5:30pm), and pure. And our house is on stilts... so the window is approx. 4 meters high off the ground.

The only thing bad with it is that at night, when I paint it is never the same, perhaps going to bed IS a better option! Perhaps painting should be first during the day, and everything else I have to do happens after dark.

I think natural lighting on figures is soft and real, lively and complementing!
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2002, 09:34 AM   #3
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
PAINTING PORTRAITS
FROM LIFE MODERATOR

FT Professional
 
Michael Georges's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 846
Lisa:

Most of this is what I was trying to post to you in the other topic. It's amazing that painting with this natural soft light over a couple of days will really hook you. When I go into my studio at night to clean up, I turn on the lights - totally different feel to everything from the carpet to the walls to the painting.
__________________
Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com
Michael's Life Drawing & Painting Blog

Regular and consistent work from life will improve your portraits.
Drawing skills are the foundation of all an artist does.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2002, 10:40 AM   #4
Lisa Strachan Lisa Strachan is offline
Associate Member
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 15
wink SPOT ON

Michael,

That is exactly how I feel too. I am learning so much from this Forum. Lighting is a big issue, and, as I am new to all this, it bewilders me. However, natural sunlight doesn't make me feel anything but grateful. It is free, it is perfect, and I don't need to stress out about it. I just have more time to paint. (Before bedtime!)
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2002, 12:39 AM   #5
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
CAFE & BUSINESS MODERATOR
SOG Member
FT Professional
 
Michele Rushworth's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,460
I too have a North-by-Northwest window in my studio and I thought about turning my easel so that it was illuminated primarily by that cool north light.

However, I remembered a post from Peggy Baumgaertner from a while back that suggested we should paint in the light in which our paintings will be seen. My clients will hang their portraits in rooms lighted by a few plain old GE lightbulbs, with light coming from all different directions around the room.

I need to make sure my paintings look their best in that light, so I feel I need to have that kind of lighting in my studio. Thankfully I have lots of plain old GE lightbulbs in there already!
__________________
Michele Rushworth
www.michelerushworth.com
mdrushworth@comcast.net
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2002, 11:39 AM   #6
Julianne Lowman Julianne Lowman is offline
Juried Member
FT Pro
 
Julianne Lowman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Decatur, AL
Posts: 144
Send a message via AIM to Julianne Lowman
What About Natural LIght Bulbs?

I am not currently in a studio with natural lighting . I've recently heard about natural light bulbs and tubes (that go into the flourescent light fixtures) that give off a corrected lighting? My husband used to manage a 1 hour photo processing store in which they used color corrected bulbs to get a more accurate view of the photos. Any comments?
__________________
Julianne Lowman
www.LowmanArt.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2002, 11:47 AM   #7
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
SENIOR MODERATOR
SOG Member
FT Professional, Author
'03 Finalist, PSofATL
'02 Finalist, PSofATL
'02 1st Place, WCSPA
'01 Honors, WCSPA
Featured in Artists Mag.
 
Chris Saper's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 2,481
Julianne,

There is an enormous amount of information already available on the Forum on this topic, just use the "search message " button at the top.

Start your research here: http://forum.portraitartist.com/sear...der=descending
__________________
www.ChrisSaper.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2002, 01:46 AM   #8
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
PAINTING PORTRAITS
FROM LIFE MODERATOR

FT Professional
 
Michael Georges's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 846
Julianne: We all have to work with what we have and strive for better in the future. In my case, I am fortunate enough to have a north window, but it is not high enough - I make do. You can certainly work with color corrected bulbs and do just fine. Try to see a studio with a high north window if you have a chance and you will see that it is something to work towards in the future.
__________________
Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com
Michael's Life Drawing & Painting Blog

Regular and consistent work from life will improve your portraits.
Drawing skills are the foundation of all an artist does.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2002, 10:17 AM   #9
Julianne Lowman Julianne Lowman is offline
Juried Member
FT Pro
 
Julianne Lowman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Decatur, AL
Posts: 144
Send a message via AIM to Julianne Lowman
Thanks for the advice. I'm finally in "my own space" and as always, the level of perfection found in my "find" is equivilant to the $100 a month rent (utilities included). I'm having to compensate a great deal for the color of the walls (a warm tan) with the light source(s)I use. I'm learning a great deal from this site and am so truly grateful for those of you willing to share your time and talents! Here's another question. How can I create an artificial "rembrant" lighting in a small space?
__________________
Julianne Lowman
www.LowmanArt.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2002, 10:43 AM   #10
Michael Georges Michael Georges is offline
PAINTING PORTRAITS
FROM LIFE MODERATOR

FT Professional
 
Michael Georges's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Loveland, CO
Posts: 846
Karin Wells did a great topic on Rembrandt lighting in another section of this forum. I will try to find it and post the URL.

Here it is:

http://forum.portraitartist.com/show...s=&threadid=56

I am assuming that you want the lighting setup to illuminate a model yes?

The basic concept of Rembrandt lighting is one high raking light source at about a 45 degree angle from the object or person you are lighting. You need some sort of reflection device on the other side to bounce a bit of light back into the shadow areas - I use a piece of white mat board.
__________________
Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com
Michael's Life Drawing & Painting Blog

Regular and consistent work from life will improve your portraits.
Drawing skills are the foundation of all an artist does.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing this Topic: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Topic Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

 

Make a Donation



Support the Forum by making a donation or ordering on Amazon through our search or book links..







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.