In an early morning painting on the famous Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, the shadows are made up of warm colors. Artist, Rod Cameron, offers this insight into the color temperature that he used in the painting, and gives artists a good rule of thumb when selecting colors for shadows.
At sunrise and sunset, the color of the light is changing very quickly. For even very ambitious plein air painters who manage to set up their easels at the crack of dawn, it's nearly impossible to finish the painting and capture the lighting effects on the landscape before it changes. And it's hard to remember exactly how it looked when you got the inspiration for your creation.
Rod Cameron, travels with other artists all the way from his home on the Big Island in Hawaii to central Europe and the Czech and Slovak Republics, to paint in Prague. Knowing how to handle the shadows in certain colored light can be very helpful when painting en plein air, and the time and the light is moving too fast.
Rod Cameron tells his students, "The magical light of Prague this early in the morning had a cool predominate cast, which brings the shadows to the warmer hues of the palate. Cool light equals warm shadows, or warm light gives cool shadows. This is the general rule." See Painting
Even experienced plein air painting artists can benefit from this little reminder, especially when it's early, and you're in the moment. You want to capture the look and feel of cool, early morning, before the sun is up, and a few good rules of thumb can help take the guesswork out!
"The incredible buildings of the city create an interesting sky line across the horizon and I used the tall statue on the left, which had a natural gaze into the scene and the focal points of the painting," said Rod Cameron while describing his painting titled, Charles Bridge. This Rod Cameron painting of the Charles bridge in Prague can be found on the web.
Go ahead! Travel halfway around the world. Get up at the crack of dawn, and capture in your paintings the beautiful places that you travel to with confidence! The light may be changing too quickly, but the architecture, skylines and statues aren't. Create great value and color harmony with complimentary colors, then nudge the color in the shadows either warm or cool. Notice that it gives your shadows a "real presence".
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