In previous tutorials, I’ve got talked about how important light sources are in painting, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, shadows can play a giant role in some ways still. An honest contrast of sunshine and dark will always grab the viewer’s eye and make them take a better look.
Here are 5 ways I exploit shadows in an oil painting:
1. To define an issue
I love to use shadow to assist define, or carve-out, out my subject. I say carve out because sometimes painting can want sculpture after you create edges and also the illusion of depth. During this example, the contrast between the sunshine background and also the shadow really defines the profile of the angel. Also, the subtle changes useful within the shadow area create the features of her face and hair. That combination of high contrast and subtle shifts useful makes a beautifully finished piece.
2. As a design element
Cast shadows create the foremost interesting shapes. With pictures, you’ll really make merry manipulating your source of illumination to elongate or intensify the shadows. I specifically found the apple picture above to form a motivating shadow for the composition. I painted the apple first to indicate the difference with and without the shadow. you’ll be able to see how the shapes are a crucial part of the finished work.
3. To ground an object
A common issue for beginning painters may be the floating object. Unless it’s intentional, you wish your subject to be grounded in a way, not floating in mid-air, and an easy shadow does the trick.
4. To make visual depth
An easy thanks to adding depth to your painting is to use shadow. It helps create the foreground, middle ground, and background. This blue house, as an example, would look pretty flat without the strong shadows cast by the sun. You automatically know which parts of the house step forward and which of them fall back. It helps give the illusion of 3-dimensional space.
5. To convey feeling or emotion
Shadows can even be accustomed to convey a sense of emotion in your painting. you’ll use soft shadows for something lovely or comforting, or harsh shadows for a more sinister or dark feeling. during this final example, the shadows are accustomed create more of an attitude.
In the end, shadows are just another fun element to explore and play within your compositions.