Sunday, April 3, 2016

Timelapse of Daylight on Shower Wall

This scene came from a collection of photos I had of my old apt. in Newton, MA - specifically photos of the bathroom.  As a matter of fact, out all the photos I've taken of that apt., the bathroom wins most popular.  It was fairly tiny with a small window that created a lot of interesting lighting effects, and there was something about the blankness of an unveiled, fairly empty glowing tiled shower wall and that small bit of brilliant sunlight splashed across it that appealed to my love of minimalism and all white paintings.  Here are some of the steps leading up to its completion with some notes along the way:

I start out by painting a quick warm wash of burnt sienna and ultramarine onto the canvas, and hurriedly start blocking in areas of color and establishing my main palette over the wash.  

I consider this to be a slight misstep in the process as I attempt to add some details and darker values, but by the end of the session I feel like I've slightly overworked it already and have lost the underlying glow and active brushwork that excited me about the first session.   

In general, I try not to get stuck in the deadly habit of taking a baby step forward and then retreating back to what was there before out of fear.  In this case however, I think it's worth it, so without totally wiping away the last session, I try to lighten up the values a bit and restore what I liked about the first stage.  I also add some texture to the curtain folds and some dimension to the shower walls. 

Just a few additions here: heightening the contrast between the shadows and sunlight, adding some gloss to the tile and tub, and handling that delicious sliver of just barely green light to the left of the yellow sunlight.  Also the black band of tile at the top for contrast.  

Lastly, I'm making sure that everything is rendered to the degree I want, contrast is high in areas like the sunlight and curtain but low in the tiled walls, and that there are enough elements included to have a nice balance and create points of interest.  I've said in the past that sometimes the elements that seem easiest to get right end up being the most difficult, and the shower walls play that role here.  The balancing act between making it a believable space without losing the misty, subtle light was a difficult one.

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