A group of internet artists from all over the place who have decided to give each other a challenge every few weeks, on a theme chosen by each in turn. We have different ideas and styles, but share a love of textiles, and want to have some fun.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Light and shadow. First thoughts.

When I set this challenge I had an immediate image in my mind, of what I would like to do, and whilst those thoughts have lead to something I intend to work on in the future, there's not enough time in the challenge for me to do such a complicated and involved piece. (well, perhaps not that complicated and involved, but it's summer, and I'm out and about a lot eating cake in various places and not paying enough attention to things artistic!) And someone said I was supposed to be having fun. Oh yes, me.

So, today I thought I'd better start again and in a more inventive and constructive way.  As ever I always begin with definitions. Very useful to get the dictionary out at this point and look up the exact meanings of words.

Light: The natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. A source of illumination. Little weight, not heavy. Not strongly or heavily built, low in density, small in quantity, gentle or delicate, not bold, not solemn or unhappy, and this one, which I didn't know, promiscuous.

Shadow: Dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. Used in reference to proximity, ominous, oppressive. Sadness and gloom. An inseparable attendant or companion. A person secretly following another. Envelop in shadow: cast a shadow over.

So, clearly, lots of fun to be had, and where on earth to start or what to choose. One of my first thoughts is for the way light plays in paintings, because I love the power painters have to play around with light.

My understanding is that the eye picks up refractions and reflections when light bounces off of things, and the brain interprets them.

We can only see because there is light bouncing around, and latest research suggest we might see things differently especially colour.  Without light we are, of course, blind. We would be living in a shadow.

The way the light bounces off of things and reflects gives us colour as well as shape, leading to the well-known idea that black and white aren't colours. White is all of light with no refraction and therefore no colour, and black is absence of light and therefore can have no colour. (Thought: Light and shadow, therefore equate to black and white)

Using light and shadow

A circle turns into a ball. The ball can be given the illusion of all sorts of things by adding shadow.

There are such interesting shapes in buildings that cast shadows.

Using light and shadow gives a 2D piece of paper or cloth the illusion of 3D or of distance and size; it tricks the brain that the eye is seeing something it's not, and I love that; it's so clever.

Edward Hopper is known for using light and shadow to good effect. He creates emotional responses and feelings as well as illusions.

Next stage is to find a large piece of paper and brain storm. Write down all the things that come to mind and see what springs forth.

(slight pause, whilst sketch book found and coffee made)

Plenty of ideas emerged over my cup of coffee, but I'm still not madly enthused by anything yet; slightly liking the idea of a shadow being a degree of absence and not absence itself.

The sun is calling me and so is the need for some shopping, so I'll keep the next stage for another posting, when hopefully I'll have a better direction and clearer idea of what I'm doing.

Thanks for reading!


Elma in Lochwinnoch said...

I now have my ideas sorted...........the "light" being a piece of my own hand-dye and the "shadow" being a tree silhouetted against this source of light. This will not be a large peice, in fact in between A4 and A3.This is it so far, trouble is this nice weather and the garden and a good book calls too :-)

marion said...

What kind of cake???

Anonymous said...

I'm not fussy marion! First choice would be something moist and almondy, second probably coffee walnut or lemon drizzle.

Esther said...

I'm taken by the 'degree of absence' concept as well...

Good start Annabel, this is going to be great.

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