Artist’s Musings

a pair of geese flew by; outside my studio window; i’m glad elephants don’t fly

Experimenting with seeing through sunglasses

It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. Could you be my neighbour?

I started this small plein air painting below about two years ago. I became bored with the composition and abandoned it. It was in front of a beautiful Victorian house which was severely damaged by a fire. It has been beautifully restored and is now a property for a real estate operation. Not wanting to waste good panel, I brought it out to use at a different paint site. 

Abandoned sketch from two years ago.

Abandoned sketch from two years ago.

I was going to walk to another neighbourhood a few blocks up from this spot along Red Clay Creek where the YMCA outdoor pool is only several feet behind me.

I originally wanted to paint the abandoned blue trailer in the other neighbourhood where a lady, maybe two summers ago, had called a police on me. Even after the officer vetted me out, she stalked me in her black SUV for a few hundred feet to a baseball field. I guess every neighbourhood has its own Gladys Kravitz.

Anyway, I painted over the abandoned painting but left the shrub because it coincidentally suited what was in front of me — the forsythia in the back of a house along Red Clay Creek.


Back to my sunglasses. I wanted to see how seeing through my sunglasses would affect how I see and mix colours. The result? When brought indoor, the result was pleasingly interesting. Under bright light conditions, our iris constrict to adjust, so if I don't keep this in mind and adjust the brightness of a colour according to brightly lighted conditions, I will certainly come back to the studio with a dark looking painting.

Try this, place a painting on a bright background and take note of the painting's brightness. Then place the same painting on a black background and you will notice that the painting seem to appear brighter when compared to when the painting was on a bright background. This is because your iris opened wider to let more light in. I've oversimplified this phenomenon, but I think you will have a better idea if you try this for yourself.