Monet’s Cast Shadows

Monet’s cast shadows act as a mirror reflecting the sky.

I am in the closing chapters of my book, Evolution Through Art. People tend not to think of artists as being part scientists, but great artists not only understand the nature of light and color but they can recreate it. Monet furthered our evolution by his innovative paintings of daylight. A great example are his color choices for cast shadows.

His cast shadows act as a partially transparent mirror reflecting the sky above. If the sky is non-cloudy then the cast shadow picks up blue tints. In the snow painting the cast shadow is picking up the gray overcast sky. Two fascinating color optics in the haystacks are that their bases have warmer shadows, the warm brown is picking a warm or neutral reflected light of the atmosphere, not the reflected light from the blue sky. But you will notice that the haystack crowns are tilted, so they pick up partial sky, consequently their shadows are a little cooler than the base.

Evolve your visual perception by studying great art.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 9/15/2020

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