Painting Light in Nature
Even now it sounds like a beautiful, incredible and impossible thing to accomplish. I mean, painting light? It seemed like magic to me at first. I didn’t understand what it all entailed. That changed after I began studying Camille Przewodek’s work.
Przewodek is a plein air painter and was a student of Henry Hensche, who in turn was an assistant to the American Impressionist Charles Hawthorne. As an artist, Przewodek’s main focus is painting the effects of light in nature through color relationships — using color and not tone to capture the effect of light in the landscape and in the studio.
When I heard that, it made such an immediate impression on me that I was suddenly able to envision how light affects everything it touches — through color.
Hawthorne, and by extension Przewodek, believed in the importance of color masses — that if you get the color notes in accurate relationships to one another, everything else in a painting will fall into place from there.
In practice, Przewodek teaches how an oil painting’s success is based on how well it shows form through color changes; which means, at its most essential, using six basic colors — a warm and cool version of each primary color — and mixing them correctly. From there, secondary colors come into play.
To gain even more insight concerning landscape painting I’ve zeroed in on Richard Robinson’s Painting Workshops series. These videos demonstrate how landscape paintings and still life art are all built on a well-chosen palette that can be used to capture all the effects of light, whether indoors or out. You also learn how to see with a heightened sense of color and form and what colors are in shadows and in light.
My eyes were opened a bit wider after studying with these resources, and I wish that kind of illumination (I couldn’t resist) on all of you, too. Enjoy!