Raising Contrasts

posted in: Blog, Uncategorized | 5

Because our attention is drawn to edges and anomalies we build pictures around these points of contrast. The contrast can be created in color, value, scale, proximity, and a variety of other opposites. Da Vinci listed his contrasting themes in terms of stillness/motion, near/far, color/form, shape/location, and light/dark. Usually, when we push the contrast we heighten the attention given by the beholder.

I include a couple of photos here which illustrate various forms of contrast. Example one presents a red/green contrast. Example two presents a size contrast in which an individual leaf dominates a landscape by virtue of its size. Example three presents a contrast of horizontals vs. verticals

Example 1. Red/green contrast, with sharp and soft focus contrast,

Example 2. Size and focus contrast,

Example 3. Verticals vs. horizontals contrast,

I will take you through the development of a couple of images and trace how I increased the qualities of contrast in different categories to make the image more compelling.  The images are still evolving as I pursue increased forms of contrast.

We begin with a bright water surface with leafy detritus and reflections (example 4). I added higher value and color contrasts (example 5).

Example 4. Earlier lower contrast version of “River Sparks”,

Example 5. After more value and color contrast, “River Sparks”,

In another water motif I began with a more monochromatic contrast (example 6) and added color as well value contrasts (example 7) to arrive at its present state.

Example 6. Earlier lower contrast version,

Example 7. Present state with increased contrasts,

Examples 8, 9, and 10 demonstrate a series of steps pursuing more variety in direction and color contrast. Example 10 is the image in its present state.

Example 8, “Morning Glory” lower contrast beginning,

Example 9, “Morning Glory” with added edge, color and diagonal contrasts,

Example 10, “Morning Glory” with further color and contour contrasts,

I invite you to visit my exhibition at the White Gallery in Lakeville, Connecticut for its final weekend. Exhibit ends November 19.



5 Responses

  1. Pat Knowles

    David…What a marvelous, clear way of teaching. The use of sequential examples has helped me to understand and remember(the toughest part) each point you’re suggesting that we consider in our own work.

  2. Ginny Moffitt

    Hi David –

    What a wonderful subject – “Raising Contrasts”. Color contrast makes one’s heart leap when it is dramatic and eye catching. In your first painting the Koi nearly jump off the painting! Gorgeous work as always!

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