Light and Substance

Light and substance—it’s another way to describe chiaroscuro, the painting technique developed in the Renaissance that we worked on last week.  Think about those two words together—light, a perennial quest for painters, exemplified by Monet and the Impressionists, and applauded in art criticism throughout art history—and Substance, what we generally call form, but the concept of substance deliciously implies greater meaning. It’s really a heady combination if you think about it.

I was struck by the work in the last week.  Emphasizing shadows and light seemed to push folks to explore new ideas and new images. Drawing skills jumped.  And the wall yielded images that caused small gasps when people entered the room.  (Especially when they spied Nancy’s painting—ask her about it.)

The term chiaroscuro is also used in the bel canto (beautiful singing) style of music—-“Brilliant sound of the voice combined with a dark timbre”.

I’m inspired by the sound of all of those words—light; substance; brilliant; dark timbre and a description of chiaroscuro that says “it’s the juxtaposition of light and shade which results in a stunning visual effect in a work of art.”

We are going to work on those ‘stunning visual effects’ and give those who missed class an opportunity to develop a work with chiaroscuro. If you have pieces in progress, you’ll have the chance to develop them further and hopefully add another to the portfolio. Be thinking about the idea of light and substance.  Remember to start with a mid-tone wash if starting afresh.

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