Sunday, November 30, 2008

Light and Dark

original landscape painting in acrylic by atul pande
Readers of this blog might think I never do a painting without setting a challenge. Perhaps so. But isn't self-imposed challenge essential to self-guided learning? All of art theory I know comes from reading cheap art books and visiting lots of museums! Thus, the only way of improving technique is for me to take a 'reductionistic' approach (hmm, perhaps something to do with a lifetime of working in the sciences?) and practice each one of the artistic elements that more skilled artists can effortlessly incorporate into their masterpieces.

Light and Dark is one of my earlier attempts at a landscape in which I tried to obtain a sense of distance just by ever so slightly varying the tone while using the fewest colors possible. This painting uses no warm colors at all. Normally the foreground would be brought closer by adding in a touch of a warm color such as a sienna or red.

In fact, Light and Dark has only cool colors -- even the yellow is a yellow-green. Despite these limitations, the darkness of the trees in the foreground does help give them substance and a sense of proximity. The trees in the background are lighter and, though of nearly the same size as those in the front, they seem to recede just enough for a three-dimensional feel.

Light and Dark, Acrylic on canvas board, 5"x7", Not for sale


  1. Hi Atul, This is such a powerful painting that it is hard to believe that it is only 7x5". I once took a workshop in which Lamp Black was the "blue", Burnt Sienna was "red" and Ochre was the "yellow". It was interesting how limited palettes stretch one's perspective.
    Happy painting!


  2. Your commentary on this painting reminds me of the old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" "Practice, practice, practice!" I believe your theory to be true and have learned that there is no substitute from painting regularly, preferably daily. It is certainly important to learn from others, but for me, the discovery that takes place from raw canvas to finished piece is what keeps me coming back to my easel!