Steeler Still Life - The Lights

One Still Life of mine that just won an award as well as gotten many positive comments from viewers is this one:

“Mini-Helmet, Commemorative Edition”, 10x14 inches, oil

The reason that folks like this piece (even if they don’t care for the subject) is the quality of the light. It’s luminous.

Luminous light like this happens in reality when a highlight hits a subject that is on a dark background, and the highlight is so intense that the light “spills” over the edge of the subject and softenes the subjects edge. The light that spills over the subject is then diffused onto the dark background making it lighter. The overall effect is one of a soft glow, with a hard light in the center.

The main area of light “spillage”.

Luminous light like this happens in oil paint when you avoid putting down a hard-edged daub of white paint while ignoring how it affects the surrounding areas. Those type of highlights work only on certain objects, like on a porcelain vase for instance.

I believe this luminous effect is acheived most pleasingly in oil paint, much more so than any other medium - Part of the reason I’ve been in love with oil paint for over a decade.

In actuality the light wasn’t all that intense when I set this scene up and lit it in my studio, but I knew it would make a pleasing effect when I rendered it properly in oil. Besides, true artists never merely copy their subjects. They always impart their own feelings into their work by whatever means they can.

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