I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

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Friday, December 27, 2013


Yay!  Illustration Friday is back in action!  I reflect all the time, this post ought to be easy, right?  (That's usually about the time when everything starts getting hard, isn't it?)  I deleted my reflections on divorce and dating, contemplated wrinkles, thought about reposting my post about narcissism... Maybe reflecting is something I spend too much time contemplating?

In art, reflections are a funny thing, and most people get them wrong.  Perhaps one of the best lessons I learning in painting class is that there should be some of every color in your painting in all of the objects you're painting.  Just the idea of that opened my world to more possibilities and definitely improved my appreciation of the masters' work.

For instance, You've painted a backdrop with Alizarin Crimson in it.  You paint Aunt Becky in front of it.  The pinks of her cheeks should include Alizarin Crimson so she looks like she's actually living in the setting you've given her.  You've painted Uncle Dave in front of something Ultramarine Blue.  Uncle Dave's 5:00 shadow, or maybe the shadows in his ears, should have some Ultramarine Blue.  Or, sometimes just to keep things interesting use the exact opposite color.  Your mind understands oppositions.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people making these days is treating the object of a painting separate from its surroundings so that object feels like it's floating on a page.  Your object needs something to ground it.  A shadow helps a lot.  Reflecting colors from the ground will ground it more.

This painting is from the era when I was learning such things.  When my painting teacher told me to put orange in the blue bowl, my jaw was tight with irritation.  No way!  Orange doesn't belong on a blue object, and you're just messing with my head!  But there's nothing like a challenge, and I put orange everywhere.  More orange than necessary to tell the truth, but it served as a good lesson.  I loved learning from Mr. Larrabee.

Another thing about reflections is that they come hard or soft.  The highlights on the purple ball in this painting are very white against the dark purple.  That means it's a really shiny object.  The reflections on the ceramic pot are more subtle because the finish of the pot wasn't as shiny.  The reflections on the wooden bowl are most subtle because it wasn't shiny at all.

When you do something metallic, put your darkest blacks next to your whitest whites in the front of the object.  Let those oppositions get more subtle the farther away they are from the viewer.  I have a lot of fun with metallic things.

Here's to hoping that everyone either makes art or appreciates it in the coming year.  Wishing everyone the happiest year yet in 2014!


  1. Appreciating is easy on Linda's blog. Have a good NYE!

  2. What an amazing piece of art this is Linda and a great tut on reflections. You obviously had a talented art teacher. Enjoy all your reflections too of 2013, it's been quite a year for you (and me!) Happy 2014 when we get there x

  3. Linda, you have been fortunate to have a good art teacher like Mr. Larrabee. The different textures (glass, fabric, metallic) are all well done.

    It has always been a pleasure to visit your blog in 2013. I expect this to stay unchanged for the year 2014.
    I wish you a nice NYE and a great start of 2014.
    Cheers to you!

  4. Thanks for the lesson and the soft and pretty still life. Happy New Year! (If I haven't already said that)

  5. Such a timely (for me) and informative art post…and you are one multi-talented artist, Linda --- I am continually surprised at the range of your skills! I think *you* would make a good art teacher too. :-) Best wishes for the upcoming year, my dear.

  6. I enjoy learning things and enjoy sharing what I learned. It's like gifts that keep getting passed around like a plastic bowl that someone left at my house after a party and no matter how many times I try to leave it at someone else's house it keeps coming back. But every time I see the bowl I laugh, and I feel gratified when I see a lesson I've passed on demonstrated in a painting. It's all good, and I enjoy seeing what all of you do on your blogs too. I just wish I had more time to visit. Thanks for all the comments, and wishing you a spectacular new year!

  7. Ahhhh... You've taught me something here. I don't know if I can literally apply it because I'm not an "official" artist; however, it seems a good metaphor for life, too. But, when looking at art now, I will think of what you've said. I really like your illustration; your usage of non-popular colors. Nice reflections for the ending of one year and the start of another. Happy New Year, Linda!

  8. I think you're right Anita -- people reflect their surroundings the same way a blue bowl reflects orange. That was kind of an accidental insight, but now I think I'll have to reflect on it. Happy New Year to you too!