Oil Painting: Color Temperature in Timothy R. Thies' Paintings

0611thiestease2_600x_1In the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, landscape painter Timothy R. Thies taught students how to capture the elusive and nuanced temperatures of light and shadow on the picturesque beaches of the Jersey shore. Here, we present an excerpt from the article that discusses color temperature.

by Edith Zimmerman

Overcast Roses
by Timothy Thies, 2005, oil, 10 x 12.
Private collection.

Cool Light, Warm Shadows
Overcast Roses illustrates the principle of cool light and warm shadows,” said Thies. “What I want to convey here is that every object in the light has been painted with cool colors—the coolness being the light temperature of an overcast day. All of the shadow areas in this painting are painted in warmer colors, especially in comparison to what surrounds them. Color temperature is always about comparing two colors next to each other. For instance, in this painting, the colors in the light areas are cooler in comparison to the colors in the shadow areas.

Hunky Dory
by Timothy Thies, 2005, oil, 11 x 14.
Private collection.

Warm Light, Cool Shadows
“In Hunky Dory, we have just the opposite,” Thies continued. “You still want to contrast all the shapes in your painting that are in the light, on a sunny day, to those in the shadows. On a sunny day, as in Hunky Dory, all the color notes in the light are warmer than those in the shadows—the shadows being predominantly cooler. Also, on a sunny day you produce paintings that have lighter, brighter colors and more contrast than in paintings done under cool light or overcast conditions. Compare the paintings side by side. The overcast painting has very subtle color changes. In Hunky Dory, the sunny-day painting, you can see more distinct color changes and a wider range of value changes. Most artists prefer the sunny-day paintings because the color changes are more obvious and the overcast paintings can appear to be very gray and unappealing. If you take a closer look, however, you will begin to see the subtle color shifts of the cool light and warmer shadow concepts, very similar to painting under north-light conditions in a studio. By painting in both lighting conditions, you will add variety to your finished painting.”

To read the feature article on this artist, check out the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine.

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One thought on “Oil Painting: Color Temperature in Timothy R. Thies' Paintings

  1. The pictures paint a thousand words and colors in pictures paint a thousand temperatures. This is what I realized after reading your article and looking at your paintings.