Light, Light, Burning Bright

17 Apr 2014

Hopefully Blake will forgive me for that little rewrite, but when I see a painting that has complicated light effects or diffuse light that seems almost prismatic I can't help but think of that adulterated line of poetry.

New York City, Winter 2006, The Storm
by Nina Maguire,
2006-2011, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24.
It happens when I look at Whistler's nocturnes and it also occurred when I looked at the acrylic paintings of Nina Maguire. The latter's art makes me wonder about the acrylic painting techniques she uses to get her surfaces to look almost like clouded glass--the colors are clear but they have an opacity to them as well.

The artist's acrylic landscape painting, especially her snowy winter scenes, shows such sensitivity to how light reflects off of and spreads out onto the white reflective surface. The diffuse light changes color as it pools over different objects, going from bluish-white to gray, green, or yellow.

Bridge Nocturne V (Tappan Zee) by Nina Maguire, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 30.
Bridge Nocturne V (Tappan Zee) by Nina Maguire,
2006, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 30.
Maguire is also sensitive to how objects that "carry" the light--like snow in motion or clouds in the sky--can be depicted with acrylic paint. To effectively paint snow coming down at a diagonal she uses brushstrokes that follow the motion of the flakes. Car lights whizzing by are rendered as dabs and streaks of pigment. Painting this way allows the artist to create visual depth even though Maguire's scenes are usually quite sparse and show a lot of open expanses of sky or sea.

Painting light is essential for any successful realistic landscape artwork, but that is just one element among many. Johannes Vloothuis is masterful at so many components of landscape painting, and now we have the opportunity to pick and choose video lessons from this expert guide, so we too can create landscapes in acrylics filled with luminous color and light going forward. Enjoy!

P.S. The FREE TRIAL Weekend at is going on right now!

You can view any and all of the video workshops for a full 4 days. With over 300 videos to choose from, we know you'll find something you'll enjoy!


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