Need some help/feedback on color and light

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  1. #1
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    Need some help/feedback on color and light

    Hi everyone!!

    I'm working on this new painting, but am a little stumped as to how to work with the colors. I want a heavy, soft, quiet atmosphere with the main light coming from the lantern. I was thinking some cold background light would be coming from the background to distribute some blues around the environment. One of the things I'm working with right now is the colors on her dress. I wanted the dress to be white, but how do you contrast that with the snow in the background? Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    I've also included a mockup of what I want the lighting to sort of look like when I'm done with it.

    Name:  Silence of Winter_v3.jpg
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  3. #2
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    What reference are you using for the skirt? When it comes to a central
    piece of clothing that big in a piece that has interesting lighting, the creases
    and folds will make or break the picture. Overdoing it or underdoing it would
    ruin the effect...fortunately something like that can be replicated by draping
    some cloth and trying to simulate a similar effect at home. Unless you have
    a ref already?

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  4. #3
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    Hi matey

    I like the idea behind this painting and I think you will get a lot out of it (educationaly) as you go, but you need to go back a step or two and decode what sort of ambient light there is around the scene as well as the light coming from the lantern as it will have a direct effect on the image.
    If its full dark in a woodland where she is then I would imagine that the light level drops to almost nothing with all the trees and foliage etc with this lack of light the difference between colors drops away and some can even look the same.
    The light from the lantern would restore some of these colours in the areas nearest the lantern and drop off to dark the further away from the light source that you go.
    That seems to me to be missing from the image so far, I hope that makes sense and is of some use to you, I would recommend that you buy James Gurneys book "colour and Light - a guide for the realist painter", thats what he calls it I have found it useful for every kind of image that I produce from landscapes to childrens illustrations.

    All the best with the work and thanks for posting

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



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  5. #4
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    Ok so i too your pic and worked on the lighting. Keep in mind I didnt paint at all one this. There are some areas that need better composition but I thought ide focus on the lighting and colour. I actually made the foreground warmer, making the snow a bit greyer (warm) in the foreground also, which leave sthe background cold. This pulls the viewer into the whole scene more.

    i also mad ethe scene more dramatic by pushing the lighting to a proper depth. darks are dark now. Hopefully you can figure out what I did.

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  7. #5
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    Thank you all for your help on this!! I don't think I'm really liking the composition much anymore, but I need it done so that I won't get hung up on it and spend hours trying to fix something that should've been solid in the first place. I haven't spent a lot of time doing backgrounds, so I think that's the main issue here. I really need to do some studies and probably should've done some pre-nightfall snow lighting practices before starting the illustration.

    Star Eater: I always struggle with references. I don't often find a pose that has the lighting I want, or the clothes that match a pose when it comes to where the folds pinch and drape. I took a photo of me in this dumb, long dress, but the lighting is coming from the wrong direction.

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    Lightship69: Thanks! I'll work with pushing the light a little bit more. I do think that right now, my image is a little too "white" to really set the kind of mood that I want. Also, I do already own that book! I'm so glad you mentioned it because I totally pulled it out of the dust last night and started pawing through it to refresh some lighting techniques.

    Sunny: Wow!! It's amazing how different your version looks from the original!! That gives me hope that I'll be able to create that really heavy, quiet mood that I'm going for. I love, love, love the warmth I feel from the lantern, and the cold background. I'm feeling a little inspired about it again, thank you. Yesterday, I read up on how snow reflects light, and that the shadows reflect the color of the sky. Here, my sky is mostly gray, so I think adding more gray into the snow would help make it look a little more realistic.

    Here was my original inspiration for the piece:

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    I also wanted to just give a small update. I didn't really work on it much after posting here yesterday because I was very stumped on where to take it. I changed the dress folds, made some cleaner ruffles at the bottom of the dress, and added some darker shadows. I'll work on implementing the feedback I got into the next version.

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  8. #6
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    The horizon might be a bit too high compared to the overall perspective of the figure.

    Is the red cloak with white trims necessary from a narrative standpoint? (as this screams Christmas to me)

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    Okay, I went back and changed the background a little bit. I think it looks more realistic, though it's still not the perfect composition. I think I may just go with it to get it done and work out better thumbnails for a future illustration. I didn't want to push the dark/light envelope to the extreme (i tried a version, and I realized that part of my initial flaws in composition was that I placed the lantern behind her, and would have no light on her face if all the light would be coming from that source), so instead, I opted for a desaturated/gray background in contrast with the saturated brightness of the character and the lantern. I need to work on her coloring now because I'm noticing that the left arm, especially, is being lost and very unreadable.

    Also, based on Hexokinase's comment, I went with doing a series of fir trees to make it look more Christmas-y and holiday-esque. I do agree that the cloak screams winter Holiday, so instead of fighting against it I just went with it.


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  10. #8
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    i think its still too light and i feel like she should be in a more intimate background setting. shes in these depressing scenes when she would look so much better in a cozy scene like a old norweigion village or something. where other warm lights exist.

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