This week we continued our focus on value (light and dark) and simple geometric forms. Creating "light logic" in a painting is how we trick a viewers eye into seeing three dimensions in our two dimensional painting.
I started by identifying the primary light source in the scene. We are givens some clues about the light source by the cast shadow on the ground and the highlight and shadow on the tree. Next I talked about reducing the various elements in the composition to simple geometric shapes like the ones we painted last week.
You will be tempted to start painting a tree one leaf at a time. Before we get to the details of individual leaves we need to create the overall volume the leaves comprise. The volume of the tree is fairly spherical. So we need to get sense of light hitting a sphere and casting a shadow on the ground.
The sky, background-trees, and ground are also part of the light logic of the scene. They are basically planes. As with the trees you will be tempted to start painting fluffs in the clouds or grass texture on the ground. Before you get to that you first need to get the overall sense of light hitting a plane. It can be hard to see past those details to how the larger shape is being affected by the light source. This is a very important skill to master if you want to create the illusion of 3D space.
Next week we will get into some color, but I want to emphasize that value contrast (light and dark) is the most important thing to get right if you want believable 3D space and form. If your light logic isn't consistent your painting will look flat. Many painters start their paintings just like this - value only.