Wild But True: I Want to Paint Light

9 Dec 2014

Lee's Ranch - Sunny Day by Camille Przewodek, 9 x 12, oil on canvas.
Lee's Ranch - Sunny Day by Camille Przewodek, 9 x 12, oil on canvas.
Even now it sounds like a beautiful, incredible, impossible thing to accomplish. I mean, paint light? It seemed like magic to me at first. And 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 effects everything it touches—through color.

The Green Vase by Camille Przewodek, 12 x 16, oil on canvas.
The Green Vase by Camille Przewodek,
12 x 16, oil on canvas.

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 that 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 a new resource guide: Impressionist Painting for the Landscape. You'll see how so many landscape painters build a palette that can be used to capture all the effects of light, whether you are indoors or out; how to see with a heightened sense of color; and what colors are in shadows and in light. My eyes were opened a bit wider after paging through this oil painting book, and I wish that kind of illumination (I couldn't resist) on all of you, too. Enjoy!

 


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