Morning Sun, Edward Hopper, l962
Painting shadows and tones is akin to writing lyrical music or mayhap a haunting poem. The dark shape produced by something between the light and a surface can turn the ordinary into the sublime.
Look out the window in the painting above and note Hopper’s homage to Giorgio de Chirico fifty years earlier…
Shadows provide drama.
Shadows can be an artist’s best friend. During my most recent visit to France, I chased shadows. This poor wall on the left is blank and sad. The same wall comes alive when the shutter is thrown open and the sun creates a marvelous shadow and — outshadows (pun intended) the real shutter.
Some shadows seem dutiful replications of an object, e.g., two for the price of one. This was a dutiful lantern shadow. Albeit, the fence shadow outshadows the real fence.
These two shadows double, intensify, the visual “reality.”
Occasionally you spy a renegade shadow, hellbent on making its own statement. This one is clearly a genie determined to escape the bottle. (It was my favorite shadow.)
Shadows are often playful.
E.g., this shadow is a rascal: My tall husband’s shadow bears him little resemblance.
Shadows can simply be gorgeous, showcasing something beautiful.
Shadows can also be an artist’s signature. Mine are usually triangular (a neo-Surrealist deference to Pythagoras).
I adore shadows.
Albeit one of my favorite 20th century artists, Matisse, ESCHEWED shadows in his later works.
(Well, those dark lines on the table count might count as shadows…. & isn’t that a shadow on her nose?)