Creation, WIP, Shadows and Picasso

Newberry, Creation, wip, oil on linen, 64x48". July 10, 2022
Newberry, Creation, wip, oil on linen, 64×48″. July 10, 2022
Newberry, Creation, detail, wip, oil on linen, 64×48”. July 10, 2022

Good morning. Having my coffee and getting ready for the next painting session on Creation. Years ago when I was in my early 20s I visited Paris with my friend Robert Mechielsen. We went to the Pompidou Museum, and there they had several Picassos. At the time I didn’t have any feeling for Picasso, but that trip changed my appreciation. Once I got past the abstraction and distortions, I saw that he was very true to daylight optics. The colors felt nuanced like in real life, and he did a curious thing with shadows—he would block out a shadowed area, like part of a table and the floor in the same color, and then define the table and floor with a few dark lines. It felt so real to me.

It was economic to group different things by one color under the shadow umbrella. The truth lies in that shadows compared to light have less info. Lit areas have about 95% more details than shadows. Shadows are literally veiled by darkness, that cuts out information, and makes our eyes adjust to try to distinguish the information inside them. The contrast to the lit areas is startling, it is exponentially easy for us to see things bathed in light.

Art that give to much information in the shadows kill the effect of the light. And the opposite is also true, almost no information in the shadows sets the stage for magnificent light. In Creation I am purposefully painting all the shadows as cutout windows viewing the space behind them. And then using line to distinguish the body part from the sky. It works particularly well with space as the setting.

Michael, Idyllwild, July 10, 2022

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