Seeing Color Temperature and Value

Lemon shape bathed in green light.

Painting a planed lemon shape according to perceived colors in green light.


We are studying color temperature and value. We started painting the planes of an object in a saturated color light. I was to paint a carved lemon bathed in green light. Amazing! The green caused the color in the shadow was violet crimson! I want to know if that is a function of the way the eye sees it, or there is some actual change in the shadow. Nonetheless one is to paint what the eye and brain perceive, and that’s what we did.
The green lit lemon set up for painting.

The green lit lemon set up for painting.


The assignment for the week was to find a white object and paint it a) in red light, b) in white light using values only, c) in natural light. Only four colors to be used for (a) and (b) titanium white, permanent red, cadmium yellow light, ultramarine blue.

For an object, I found an Easter decoration, which I painted white to remove all local color, then put it under the red light.

Painting of an egg in a red light.


For the second part, only black and white could be used.

Egg painted in scales of grey.


The third painting was to use natural light from a north facing window (below). Nothing is more daunting than looking at something that is white, such as an egg or white cloth and trying to see the subtle colors that exist in the white. Suddenly the color becomes visible. It is exciting, once you see it.

Egg in natural light.


All of these were painted exclusively with a knife.

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