I've been trying to gather information lately about the types of light conditions and their behavior, how they alter edges, color saturation, color
temperature etc. I haven't been having much time to practice color from life, especially during the daytime, so I am stuck with my indoor fluorescent light,
which isn't very useful, let alone that I can't learn anything about other lighting conditions. Studying from photography for some reason, doesn't
"compute" for me.
I am not looking for a "recipe" to north light, overcast light etc. I know that we all see in a slightly different manner and we make different aesthetic
choices that affect a piece a lot but there must be some general tendencies noted somewhere and how these may translate to painting.
I've been looking at some artists lately and I have noticed a few things, this one by Paul Bonner for instance.
It's drawn in a "realistic" manner and modeled that way too. The lighting, the way it affects saturation, edges and color temperature, although not entirely
realistic (due to color choices I suppose?) seems consistent enough with a logic that convinces that the scene is lit by a particular type of sunlight.
Brom here draws and models this image realistically too, the cool spotlight, although it seems more faked in comparison to Bonner's illustration, has a
consistency and is convincing of it's effect.
Both previous examples don't just "add white" and "add black". And although the color choices aren't consistent with a realistic result they convince the
Here James Gurney creates an even more realistic result, with the use of models (I couldn't find a high res image that's even more realistic sorry) and
hence convinces even more, although the previous two aren't far behind really.
In contrast this image by Glen Fabry and Liam Sharp, as well as the next one by Simon Bisley, just seem to consistently "lighten" and "darken" the local
They do it well no question about it, but they convince only for their volume, not realism or light quality.
All this in contrast to clearly realistic work like this by Richard Schmid
Now, in the case of Schmid, it's easy to understand, he has his subject in front of him, has the experience to simplify well and make the colors needed
to represent his subject realistically, he has color temperature and saturation as affected by lighting conditions right in front of him, his decisions to
deviate, if he does, are aesthetic.
The same almost could be said of James Gurney who creates a whole model of his image and lights it with the corresponding light to simulate the lighting
conditions he wants. Not that it's any easier, I understand he must know what tends to happen during these conditions so he will know what type of
light he will shine on the model and what type of reflector to use to get the back light, reflected light etc he needs so the result can convince that it is
sunrise for instance. He must know what light does during sunrise!
Now, in the case of Bonner, I don't think he uses a model like Gurney (if anyone knows please correct me, I don't have a clue, I am just making an
assumption) yet the results, although not as convincing as Gurney's , are very close. Even Brom's (I don't think he used a model in this image, or any other
he's made) is still pretty convincing and less "comicy" than Fabry's or Bisley's (not to take away anything from the guys, it's clearly a choice).
So, I come to the conclusion that there must be some factors that are constant with light in various circumstances, that produce certain results and
that light causes changes in certain degrees that can seemingly be predicted.
If the opposite were the case, then Bonner's and Brom's work, wouldn't seem so "realistic" and their logic of saturating and desaturating their color based on
light, as well as altering it's temperature, wouldn't convince us I think. It would look more like a colored mess in areas and a "simpler" solution like
Fabry's and Bisley's would seem a better solution for them unless they used a model of sorts.
So, to come to my questions. Is there a book, books, or some resource documenting the tendencies of light under various conditions. How it seems to
affect color temperature and saturation and to what degrees.
Also, if these artists have used some sort of reference (I am talking about Brom and Bonner), how does one use an unrelated reference (I don't think they
found pictures of what they wanted to paint so they probably used something that had the type of light they were after) in such paintings. We
aren't talking about drawing a head correctly, but how a cool spotlight desaturates light grey skin across it's surface and form.
I hope what I am looking for in terms of guidelines is coming across. I don't even know if I've expressed it right, but it's been in my mind some time now.