August 26, 2014

Male Model with Dark Shadows

Hmmm. Too dark? Perhaps. 

I do like paintings that are rather dark sometimes, for their moodiness and drama. But somehow in my studio the shadow side didn't seem quite so dark. I know when you look at dark areas for a long time the iris of your eye will open wider, letting more light in. This will allow you to see things better even when it's dark. I think that may have been what was happening here. In an effort to create a strong shadow I think my peepers were fooling me. That's why the shadow side looks a bit extreme to me now and he kind of looks like he has a black eye. 

Anyway, another lesson learned. There are still things I like here. The handling of the mouth, and a couple of other things, so not a total failure.

Oil on Canvas Panel - 12 x 16

Also, I think if I were going to do this painting over I would probably do a horizontal crop, something like this.

I think this works better. Hey, photoshop does a lot, but it can't cut my panel down so it fits in a frame. ;-)


  1. Chris, I didn't know that about a darkened studio. But it stands to reason I guess as it works the opposite way when I plein air with the sun on my canvas. Mike Rooney had mentioned it to me in one of my lessons with him. So I experimented and tried painting in full sun. The painting had a very dark tone to it. Thanks for the little tidbit!
    Have you been using your model stand?

  2. Hi Catherine. I have gotten to use the stand on my most recent post "Gary." My neighbor came over and sat for me so I could do his portrait. The stand is great. My studio, not so much. My lighting is not great and it's a bit cramped. But you work with what you've got, right? Can't make excuses.
    I do recall once trying some outdoor painting in full sun as well. I thought I was doing ok 'til I got the painting indoors and it looked really dark. Live and learn I guess.