Project 2: Self evaluation light and tone

The last two exercises I explored different ways of rendering a three-dimensional perception of form. I learned how important it is to understand correctly the direction of direct and reflected light. Referring to Leonardo da Vinci’s five-value rule helped me to understand the concept deeper. My initial sketches supported my learnings. What I found out is the importance of good observation of real objects in front of me. When I compared what I observed with my naked eyes with the photographs I took from the set-up, I was quite astonished how bad the photograph is able to capture the fine value gradations. This I saw in both exercises and I am glad that I did not need to rely on photographs for my drawings. Those I took for my log reference.

Further I found out how complex the situation gets when color play a role (as in normal life). E.g. in exercise 2 in my first composition, the reflected light from the apple on the bottle was so colorful and nicely to be seen. Whereas in exercise 3, it was not that obvious, many overlapping shadows and a darker colored underground (book) closer in color to the cast shadows. What helped me here again, was understanding the concept and to practice.
Also I find it useful to distinguish between reflected light and reflection: the first where light is bouncing back from a surface, the other where a surface acts like a mirror reflecting an image. During my exercises I was more concerned about reflected light, but I also faced in exercise 3 the effect of reflection ( image of lemon in the shiny cup).

During the exercises I got really involved in the value gradations detection, so that the form as such became somehow secondary. That was true especially in exercise 2. Whereas in exercise 3 my focus was on line drawing that took me back to the form of the objects. I tried to follow the contour of the objects with my marks. I believe that this is the reason I got a bit stucked. During the second run in exercise 3 I was deeper looking at the values and tones, also from a distant perspective.

Overall, I think exercise 2 was easier for me to ‘forget’ the form for the sake of value. However, avoiding outlines in exercise 3 was quite helpful to focus more on tone.

My summary:
– Form become the focus when looking at contour or outlines
– Tone become the focus when looking at light and shadow in a kind of dialogue

I will take this into account in my further studies.


  3 comments for “Project 2: Self evaluation light and tone

  1. K
    December 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I was curious if you tried to answer the strange question on p.25 right above the Research: “How difficult did you find it to distinguish between light from the primary light source and the secondary reflected light?” I don’t get the point of this one as it seems pretty obvious when you can see the main light source, shadows, surface, etc. What do you think?

    • Stefan
      December 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Yes, this is indeed a tricky question to understand. Not sure if I answered as it was supposed to be. For me I referred to Leonardo’s five value rule (you can read about it in my blog entry on exercise 2): highlight = direct light hitting the surface at right angle, mid tone = exposed to direct light at oblique angle. So this leaves reflected light = light from secondary
      sources where direct light bounces back from other objects, surfaces.
      I described how obvious it was in my first run in exercise 2) where I could even see the color of the surface of the other object (reflected light). But also how less visible it was in exercise 3) when the surface where the light bounces back from is dark and in shadow zone. Typically there should be always a part of reflected light on an object. I can envision the only case without reflected light is in dark deep space when one light source is hitting an object that is flying in nowhere.
      Hope this gives an answer, at least this is how I see it.
      Good luck

  2. K
    December 29, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    thanks, for some reason I wasn’t even thinking “in colour” lol

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