May 26, 2016

Meet the Terminator - Painting and Drawing Tips


Hey, I am not taking you into the Science Fiction World.  No way.  I am a bit of a buff in that area but really I live only on the fringe. However,  to meet the Terminator you do need to travel to the Dark Side.

Blossom Time - 5 x 7 Sold
Hard to believe I ventured to the Dark Side to finish this little picture off. 

Today I am starting a new series for my posts, it's all about the Shadows.  You painters know all about shadows, you are going to say.  Put a bit of the complementary colour and off you go.  But from a drawing perspective there is way more to shadows then that.  Shadows have many parts to them.  Shadows tell  the story about your subject.  Shadows tell about your setting.  Shadows tell about your lighting.

Today you will venture into the Dark Side.
Today you will meet "The Terminator".

The terminator is a key element of the shadow.  While depending on the situation that is, each part of the shadow could be the key to your story. Here in my picture "Blossom Time" the Terminator played a key roll in getting my little chickadee to come alive.

To understand the Terminator, you need to go back to the basic principles of a shadow.  Here is my friendly little Apple to introduce you to the Terminator.  When you look at the shadow on the apple you see a very dark edge where the light and shadow meet.  This edge is the Terminator. 

My friendly Apple - excerpt from my sketchbook

Notice how it is has a soft edge where it meets the light, this tells the eye the surface is smooth and curving.  It also says the light is bright but not harsh.  The Terminator is darker and larger near the top and lighter and curls forward on the bottom. This tells the eye the shape and size of the apple and its distance from the surface and the light.

So how did the Terminator help my little chickadee?

Detail from Blossom Time - 

Looking closer you can see the dark edge along the bird's shadow line.  Notice the shoulder area is the darkest.  This tells the eye that the bird is not flat.  It bulges out towards the viewer there, thus giving the bird mass and bulk at that point.  As the eye travels along that line it feels the indentation of the neck, the bulk of the shoulder and the sweep into the tail.  The little chickadee jumps to life hiding in his shadowy spot.

Not all Terminators are equal.

Check out the other Apple up in the bowl. Notice the Terminator there.  It is lighter and smaller.  Telling the eye that it is further back so the light is softer there and the Apple is lying down.  The Apple is only catching the tip of the light before its side sweeps down into the bowl. (Not to confuse you, I know there is another shadow on the Apple. There is dark cast shadow on the Apple in the bowl from the lightly sketched Apple.  That cast shadow is whole other story for a later post. )

Start looking at shadows, find the Terminator.  He is hiding there, waiting to tell your eye all about the shape you are looking it. 

How do you treat your shadow areas?  What do they say to you?  Is this an important element of your work?

If you missed my last post series on Drawing Tips for summer fun check them out.  It is a four part series starting here.  

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art.

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 Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

What a lovely little painting Wendy!

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thank you. I am having fun finding places to put my little chickadee in the garden.