Ever had the feeling you’re being watched? I was strolling casually down the street, minding my own business. Did I mention I was eating a Scone? Suddenly, I had the feeling that someone was watching me. And there he was…with his big bird-pleading eyes that said “feed me your scone…..FEED me your scone”. I don’t really remember what happened after that, but several times this week I’ve found myself taking the same route.

We have been BLESSED WITH SUNNY weather the entire time we’ve been in Ireland. For those of you who haven’t been, so many sunny days in a row is very unusual. We took advantage! The SUN makes a huge difference when you’re TAKING PHOTOS FROM WHICH TO PAINT. The sun is a magical brush all on its own…..an idea maker. Take a look at these photos, for example:

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This first set is the same scene of a street in Kinsale. The first is pretty enough, but in the second photo of the same scene, the sun has provided us with wonderful shadows. Isn’t that convenient for us?

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Now look at the second scene of the boats. Wow! What a difference. Shadows everywhere, and wonderful sky blues reflected into the water. The color on the boats is also brighter. So why are these things so important to us as artists? Lets talk about a boat, for example. When you are painting a boat on a cloudy day, most of its values (lights and darks) are the same. Say, If the boat were blue on the outside and red on the inside, the color would change of course, but both the red and blue would be similar in value.

Now take that same boat in the sun…..what Fun to paint it! Our buddy the sun gives us a lot of help. The brighter the sun, the more extreme the values on the boat. Where the sun shines, inside the boat or on its outside, the color is very light…..almost “bleached out” by the sun. By contrast, places that are not hit by the sun and are in shade, are much darker in color. About 40% darker in full sun! It is much easier to paint a shape when all of this information is spelled out for us and we don’t have to make it up.

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Barbara Barrett, my fantastic co-tutor from here in Kinsale, honored us with a fantastic demo. This poppy is a beautiful piece, don’t you think? She’s got quite the sense of humor, so it was not only an informative demo, but a fun one! Thanks, Barbara!

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