Painting Shadows on the Cypress Trees – Last time, we painted the bark on the Cypress trees that are in sunlight. Now we will paint the side of the trees that are in shadow. Although they are in shadow, there is still the opportunity to show lots of color by creating a warm/cool bias between the side of the tree in shadow with the side that is in sunlight. Back in the “old days”, before computers and color photography, artwork was photographed with black and white film. Having a strong warm and cool colors was advantageous because they would help provide contrast when being photographed with black and white film.
For the shadows on Cypress trees I am painting, I use four different shades of bark color. The basic recipe for my bark shadow color is Windsor & Newton Gouache Cyan Blue, Sepia, Ochre, Jet Black and Permanent White. The lighter of the colors have no Jet Black, more Sepia, more Ochre, more Permanent White and less Cyan Blue. More Sepia, Ochre and less Cyan Blue makes for a warmer lighter color. The darker shadow colors are just the opposite. More Cyan Blue, more Jet Black and less Permanent White, Ochre and Sepia. The complete the shadow colors I take a thin liner and add a highlight made up of the color of the sky, a mixture of Cyan Blue and Permanent White. This gives the shadow color a colorful realistic look (see top photo). If an object is not in direct sunlight, the shadow will still have color. It will reflect colors from the sky. Anyone who has taken lots of night photography in the city has knows this. A good digital camera picks up colors that the naked eye doesn’t see. Objects that aren’t in direct light still have lots of color. The colors are just much cooler with lots of blue.