Painting Light

HOW TO PAINT LIGHT

I teach students how to paint and draw light. I am also a lighting specialist. My fascination with light encompasses, not only the commercial, retailing aspect, but the artistic as well. Once drawing and painting skills are developed to the point where students can accurately put down what they see, creating light and shadow is studied and faithfully delineated subject matter emerges in a world of space and volume.

LEARNING TO SEE

Basically, the depiction of light and shadow is accomplished by using dark and light colors in painting and tonal gradations in drawing. For a beginning student this often requires some visual skills.. First, I tell the student it is necessary to convert what they see to a two-dimensional vision that they can translate to a two-dimensional surface like a canvas or a sketchbook page.

POWERFUL GRIDS

Seeing objects two-dimensionally can be done in several ways. The easiest (and most time-tested) is to construct a grid in front of the subject matter–that could be actual objects, a photo or a picture. This can be done most simply by holding a pencil vertically and horizontally against the viewed objects, comparing their shapes to the vertical and horizontal lines of the pencil.

Another time-tested method is to literally construct a grid on plate glass or Plexiglas and place that grid in front of the objects. Now the viewed objects are intersected by many squares (depending on how large or small the squares in the grid are.) Each quadrant (square) of the grid can then be painted or drawn independently and upon completing the entire grid, the composition of objects is finished to compose an accurate picture of the objects.

Light and shadow are more easily discerned and created with this grid method. How objects are illuminated can be defined on paper or canvas by observing and re-creating light and shadow at play in each quadrant. In accomplishing this by shading and highlighting, illumination and therefore, volume is created, the illusion of the three-dimensional space is created, reborn on a two-dimensional surface.

EARLY LINE AND COLOR

Accuracy, as well as light and shadow were not always the motivation behind depicting artful images. Before the Renaissance, art works in Europe depicted objects ( figures, landscapes, buildings) in a flat space. There was no light and shadow. Figures were delineated and colored in a style much like a coloring book. These images translated well to stained glass windows and mosaics. Their simplicity of line and color contributed to the strength of the iconography, often of religious significance.

EARTHLY LIGHT

With the discovery of perspective, space and volume became important to artists as well as the depiction of light and shadow. Symbolic icons and images described by line gave way to depictions of illuminated space. In perspective, objects recede and advance in a two-dimensional space that is totally visually believable. To augment the receding and advancing figures with directional light and shadow completed the believability, creating a world the eye could explore as a simulated, illuminated three-dimensional environment.

GOLD LEAF TO EARTHLY LIGHT

Spiritual light, the vehicle of infinity was often expressed with the use of gold leaf in Medieval altarpieces. The warm, glowing, reflective surface behind religious figures imbued the work with a rich and reassuring statement-the glory of heaven and God’s power. A more earthly light replaced gold leaf in the Renaissance. Spiritual figures were bathed in sunlight and swathed in shadow. The light that illuminated the humble shepherds was the same light that shone on Jesus and his followers.

REPEATING HISTORY

It is interesting to me that the journey a beginning drawing or painting student takes often replicates the historical transition from the Medieval use of line and color-in style to the Renaissance application of illuminated space and volume. And, with more advanced students, their journey often continues to repeat the contemporary return to line and color-in, the preference for depicting flat, shallow space and solid color.

I find this reassuring. The art world is wide open, brimming with many styles, images, materials and skills. For today’s artist, everything is available, to use towards a creative purpose. All of history as well as the latest technological/digital images are ready to be researched and developed.

A Few Fantastic Health Benefits of Yoga

There are so many of us who inevitably end up associating yoga with its “physical” attributes. In fact, they shy away from it simply thinking that yoga is strictly meant for the physically fit or the athletic ones. A highly erroneous notion. The concept is far from truth-very far! Yes, it’s a physical exercise. No doubt about it. However, one needs to understand that this ancient practice entails much more than just “body”- yogis aim for that perfect realm of stability where the mind, body and spirit work in cohesion. Today, we will be primarily discussing the health benefits of yoga but not before clearly pointing out that you can practice it even if you are not athletic! Here’s what you need to find out about the health benefits of yoga. They are simply fantastic.

It can bolster the function of lungs

Deep purposeful breathing is a part of the yogic experience. Such exercises, as per studies, can actually improve the functioning of lungs. With a better-functioning pair of lungs you can expect to perform a lot of activities better – like running or walking long distances without getting tired.

Exercises bolster the condition of your heart as well

Patients with high blood pressure and cholesterol can benefit a lot from yogic exercises. Studies, for instance, have shown that individuals practicing yoga on a regular basis have lower blood cholesterol levels and reduced risks of blood cholesterol level. What more? The efficaciousness of the breathing exercises is now even harnessed by doctors to address heart ailments. Medical practitioners duly acknowledge the usefulness of the right breathing techniques and exercises when it comes to reversing symptoms of several stress induced diseases or heart ailments.

These exercises help you master the right postures

The importance of sitting, working and walking in the right posture is mostly undermined by us. We often fail to identify the evils of wrong postures. For instance, we just fail to realize that wrong postures can actually give birth to a number of problems including neck pain, shoulder pain and so much more.

Practicing yoga can help you build stronger muscles so that they can support the right postures. Yogic exercises also add flexibility to your body thereby eliminating muscle tension so that you are able to walk and sit with your shoulders straight. You can sit with your stomach tucked in as well.

Yoga can also help you fight depression

Meditation or relaxation exercises can help you get out of depressive thoughts as well. For many depressed people, when every measure fails, yoga turns out to be the answer.

So, what exactly are you waiting for? It doesn’t matter how old you are or how athletic (or not) you are, you can always trust the therapeutic benefits of yoga in a major way. Find a credentialed instructor and get going! Make sure you are exploring more about these exercises and their benefits by reading up about the same. There is no dearth of resources to help you there. Make sure you’re keeping these points in view.