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Friday, February 10, 2012

Painting Lights at Night ...My Favorite Resource

'Bourbon Street Lights' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis
painting available with Paypal or check $145

How do you get lights to glow in a painting? It seems like it would be a tricky thing to paint and I struggled with it. Then I discovered Doug Dawson's book Capturing Light & Color with Pastel. This is one of my favorite books on pastels and I am always referring to it. It is full of great information for beginner to advanced pastelists and every page is a treat as it is filled with Doug's wonderful paintings and demos. It is one of those books that has layers of information. The more I learn about painting the more I get out of this book. Here are just a few of my favorite chapters:
  • Solutions to Color Problems
  • Painting Negative Shapes
  • Painting Backgrounds
  • Painting Water
  • Creating Depth with pastels
  • Capturing Light

'Wild Times in Wildwood' 5x7 pastel

I plan on posting a night scene demo soon but here are a few tips for painting glowing lights at night
  1. The glowing light is just an illusion and to pull this illusion off you need to surround the light with values at least 4 or 5 steps darker.
  2. To get the feeling of the light the rest of the painting needs to be painted darker than it really is.
  3. You need to determine the color of the bulb...is it yellow? yellow orange? The yellow bulbs are brightest and more yellow at the center and become more orange at the edge of the bulbs.
  4. All lights are surrounded by halos which are even more pronounced in rain or snow. Look for the halos!

If you want more tips like these then you will want to get Doug's book. It is currently out of print but can be found used on Amazon or Ebay. My husband found one of my copies at a garage sale. I actually have two copies in case I lose one! Yes that is how much I love this book!
Visit Doug Dawson's website Here


Paintings said...

WOW! Stunning Paintings. Its amazing. The first one painting is just heart touching. Nice blog.

Julie Ford Oliver said...

I like your painting a lot.

I remember Doug from when I used to attend the Art Students League in Denver, back in the 80's. He was very popular and great instructor.

Nick Miliokas said...

I am a longtime fan of Mr. Dawson's landscapes.