Lighting Effects

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Claude Lorrain introduced the glowing obscuring effects of atmospheric perspective in the 1600s.  From the 1628 to 1668 we can trace Claude’s further development of atmospheric effects (see examples 1 and 2). J.M.W Turner was enchanted by Claude’s compositions and application of atmospheric perspective as you can see in his 1837 painting “Regulus” in example 3.

Example 1. Claude Lorrain, 1641, Seaport with Embarkation of St Ursula,

Example 2. Claude Lorrain, 1668, Landscape with Abraham Expelling Hagar,

Like his idol Claude, Turner increased his devotion to the obscuring luminance of atmospheric effects over his career.  Example 3, “Regulus” was begun in Rome in 1828 but further developed in London in 1837 in front of fellow artists on “Varnishing Day” at the Royal Academy. Here Turner was described as scumbling and scrubbing in layers of flake white among other tints as he brightened his painting giving it an incandescent atmosphere.

Example 3. J.M.W. Turner, 1837, Regulus,

What follows are a series of examples of my recent paintings all of which employ atmospheric lighting effects. These examples range from close-ups of nature to a great urban interior to misty shorelines to a vertiginous misty gorge to lastly, a forest stream running into dissolving sunlight.

The first example (4) presents oil on brushed silver, enameled aluminum with obscuring and brightening atmospheric effects running along the upper area of the painting. Example 5 demonstrates the use of atmospheric luminism within Grand Central Station. Here the misty atmosphere envelops the entire image.

Example 4. “Misty Reflections” an oil on brushed silver enameled aluminum,

Example 5. “Misty Atmosphere in Grand Central Station”, oil on Dibond,

Examples 6 and 7 involve more steps and complications in their processes. Example 6 demonstrates a mixed media work which began as a watercolor on varnished paper and then received enamel pen work followed by semi-opaque and translucent oil glazes.  I wish I had taken photos of each stage.

Both examples 6 and 7 were the result of my demonstrations to workshop students. Example 7 began as oil on white Dibond and was later altered through the transfer effects of decalcomania in order to create fine filigree effects on the rock surfaces. I applied the misty atmospheric effects last.

Example 6, “Misty Gorge”, watercolor, enamel and oil on paper,

Example 7, “Misty Acadian Shoreline” oil on white Dibond,

My final image is presented in two steps (examples 8 and 9). The first step demonstrates my initial laying in of color and a loose sense of the structural design. The second step presents the image after finding finer foliated effects, water surface and translucence effects, and hazy solar effects.

Example 8.  Step one of “Turning Into Light”,

Example 9.  Step two of “Turning Into LIght”,

I invite you to join me for my 5 day and 3 day intensive workshops at the Silvermine School of Art in April.  Registration is open beginning 9 am February first. Call the school at 203 966 6668 ext 2.

I also invite you to my workshop “Explore Spectacular Flowers and Nature” with David Dunlop on Saturday and Sunday , March 23 and 24th at Artsplace in Cheshire, Ct. at or call Joan or Karen at 203 272 2787.

You may also wish to join me at The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for my workshop “Natural Wonders” May 17, 18, and 19. Demonstrations in watercolor oil, acrylic and mixed media. This is a studio workshop.  Call Sara Bas at 904 280 0614 ext 204 or register at

I invite you to my lecture “How Painting Evolves: 500 years of changing purposes, methods, audiences, sources, materials, tools, themes and techniques” on Sunday March 10 from 4:30 to 6PM at the Silvermine Art Center in New Canaan, Ct. $20. Call the school at 203 966 6668 ext 2. Or visit the website


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