Thursday, December 6, 2007

Simultaneous Contrast

A Rose by Any Other Name
7 x 7 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Miki Willa

Believe it or not, the rose is the same in both pictures. In the first one, I took the photo before I put in the light background. Before I took the second photo, I put on a light background because I thought it would work better. I am just amazed at the difference. The photos were taken under the same conditions. The colors of the rose appear totally different, but I can assure you I didn't touch the rose, only the background. The green in the leaves is even different.
Richard McKinley wrote a column here about why this happens. It is called Simultaneous contrast. It is the notion that every color, or value, will respond differently depending on what it is next to. While I have been exploring light values in my paintings, I can see how this works in creating shadows while still using lights. A darker light next to white becomes very dark if there are no other darks around. I am going to have to work to apply that to my landscapes where I do distant mountains or meadows.

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