How to Find the Highlights to Emphasize in Your Paintings

Texture was added to this design after the preliminary idea was developed. The diagonal design was used initially to draw the viewer into the image. But it's the highlights and textures in the highlights that become of more interest once the viewer is drawn in.

11x14 pastel, available.

Previous Blog posts have discussed how placing the center of interests ( in this case the highlights) in the intersections of the one third vertical and one third horizontal planes. This pastel does that. But the diagonal line of the threes and middle ground also point to the intersection of these planes. And the bottom of the trees and dark areas of the foreground to the left of the image, they also point to the intersection of the highlights. These lines of connection point to the idea of radiating lines from the center of interest, the highlights. So this composition contains two of Edgar Payne's principle designs, radiating lines and the diagonal compositions. That makes this composition stronger than if there were just one idea used or one design of composition

Adding Texture and Impasto to a Pastel

Texture was added to this design after the preliminary idea was developed -- that's something new for me. I have been experimenting with texture and impasto in pastel for weeks, but an artist friend mentioned that Richard McKinley had a video about this -- nothing is really new in art no matter how much we artists want to think we are breaking new ground. I watched the video. He did his rough sketch, then blocked in the painting and then saw where the highlights were. After that he added clear gesso in thick and generous amounts to the areas of highlight. That's what I did here in the sketch above. The light areas are the areas where I added the textured impasto and where the highlights of the finished painting were predicted to be based on preliminary thumbnail sketches (yet another case for planning out what you want to paint using thumbnails).

What I learned

  • While I think this is an acceptable painting,t he highlights needed to have brush marks to make them believable

  • Placement of impasto in small areas become problematic, such as between the tree trunks, keep the broader highlight areas the center of attention not smaller areas for impasto

  • Back to bullet point one: brush strokes rather than just bumps of texture are better

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All