Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mood and lighting

Continuing the theme of beautiful decay today I'd like to add another dimension.
I've spoken before about seeing beauty in the unlikely forms of rusting old vehicles, and about looking at the shapes and colours in an abstract way.
The V.W. above makes an excellent 'Rust canvas' and includes that winning colour combination of blue and rust. When you add to that a little worn texture in the flaking paint for me it's a winner both as a photograph or as the inspiration for a painting.

So we've established the VW photo would make a good painting, but the 'head on' composition, combined with the even lighting tends to flatten out the appearance of what is actually a very curvy car.
To add a little depth and mystery to our rust art we need to employ some visual tricks using shadow, this will then enable us to create several effects that add interest to a painting.
In the image above the chrome on this old beauty sparkles in the sunlight, and the dark background enhances that sparkle making it appear brighter and more dramatic.

In the example above shadow has been used to even greater advantage, the strong light and shade of the picture describe the 'pattern' of the composition, while the hot colours of orange and yellow tell us that the sun is strong. The foil to all this heat is, once again our old friend the blue which describes the patterns of reflected light in the headlamp.

This next one I like a lot. It's very difficult to achieve a sense of heat and dryness in a painting using a very restricted warm palette, almost always there has to be some cool colour in there to balance out the warmth.
In painting terms 'warm' colours are broadly speaking those we associate with the sun, so reds, oranges and yellows, while 'cool' colours are those of blue, green, and purple hues.

In the picture above the photographer has managed to include all of my 'Holy grail' requirements for good rust art. There is the close up composition that has been cropped down to remove the extraneous detail, the interesting shapes made by the fall of light, the deep, dark shadows which add a sense of depth and mystery, and last but not least the texture of the worn metal and paint.
Notice how there is a subtle hint of cool green/blue in the burnished steel of the repair, added to which an almost imperceptible blue in the lens of the headlight, these are the 'cool' colours needed to bring a little relief from all that hot, stuffy orange!

This final picture has some fantastic elements, the eye starts out at left captured at once by the strong colour and contrast, it's almost as if your eye has to adjust to the light as it would in real life before it can then explore the shadow.
The cool colours in the shadow consist of the green of the trucks original paintwork, some purple along the wing (fender) and once again the tiniest touch of blue on top of the headlamp bezel and in the lens. The more practice that you have at actually looking for these juxtapositions of light and shade, and warm and cool in a picture the more easily it becomes to know what would make an attractive, lively, and 'beautiful decay' painting!


Red-SSR said...

Great images...Gary

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Picture...!

Raggmunk said...

beautiful photos! =)