Saturday, August 2, 2008

Painting Highlights


Hake Brush on Wineglass
Oil, 5 x 6 inches


I finished this one yesterday, but had problems getting into Blogger last night. It's not the greatest image; I'll take it's "Official Portrait" when I get ready to list it on eBay, which by the way, will be next week (both this and the Teacup/Teapot painting will be going up).





To me, one of the things that contributes most to the realism of a painted object is the quality of it's highlights. These are very rarely simple accents of pure white. Instead, they're complex collections of warm and cool tones, and often not just reflections either. Particularly where glass is concerned, a highlight consists of reflected light and also a refraction of that light, yeilding portions of the spectrum around the edges. Someone once told me about seeing one of Anthony Ryder's paintings in person, saying "you just wouldn't believe" how many colors there were in the highlights.

This is one part of my act that I'm very intentionally trying to clean up, with mixed feelings about the results so far (but's good motivation). I am making certain to spend some good time studying the highlights before I try painting them. It's a little bit of a "down the rabbit hole" experience; they invariable become more complicated the more I look at them.

It's also the prime reason I've become so obsessed with having good small brushes lately. There are times when even the smallest brush I have seems like an impossibly clumsy shovel...

8 comments:

Katherine said...

Jeff, I wonder if you'd mind if I do a post, linked to this blog, taking this idea a bit further? Using 'knife, wineglass and lemon', and using photoshop, I've 'pipetted' samples of the glass colours and superimposed them on the image in a line. I was just going to say how honed your eye is, to see all the colours. You ok with this? I'm cool with it if you'd rather not.

Ed Terpening said...

Great work. You come up with the most inventive compositions!

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Jeff, having just discovered your blog and work, I am very impressed. After years slugging away in the corporate world, retired now and resurrecting my own personal artwork and time with the brush and palette.

I'm working setting up a collage that contains apples as a theme.....and that's how I found your beautiful recent (I think) apple painting! It is just lovely!! Oh yes, your highlighting - exquisite. Your work is so beautiful and inspirational for one who has been away from the actual participation of producing visual products!

Your blog contains so much information and I'm thrilled to have found it.

With best regards....

Jeff Hayes said...

Hi Katherine - well, I'm not sure what you mean, but go ahead; I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Thanks Ed! Some general said most battles are won before they are fought... think it's the same thing with a painting... composition, composition, composition...

Thanks very much Sunrise; all in all, it's way better than slaving at the office, I think...

Katherine said...

Thanks Jeff. Will post on my art blog sometime this week.

This Painting Life said...

Really enjoying the composition in this work, the tension and balance appeals to me. The more I paint, the more I see, thus I agree with you about the complexity of colour in highlights. I would add it is equally important to see reflected colour in shadows.

Jeff Hayes said...

Thanks Diane, I could not agree with you more about the shadows; when well-handled, they can be some of the liveliest parts of a painting.

Wai Li said...

I get what you mean about the small brushes having to be excellent quality.