Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Effect

Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn)  Self-portrait

In Reilly's words, "The effect is where you look first, it is where you want the viewer to look. It is a guided tour that is planned by the artist, the looking device used by the Masters."

Reilly used the term "The Effect" to describe how the effectiveness of light on the subject can be used to the artist's advantage. By emphasizing the position and brilliance of the light source, the viewer's eye can be directed to a chosen area of interest. Exaggerate this principle from the beginning. Include it in your color note.

Look for it in the area nearest the illumination, the largest, lightest area of the form. The plane that faces the illumination. In life class this might be the upper chest of the model, but depending on the light source it could also fall on the hips, shoulder, head, etc. Consider it an element of design that increases form and volume to the subject. Think Rembrandt! 

It is most often a value problem. Within the light area there is a concentration of light due to the bending away of light. A light source creates a cone of light whose strongest illumination is in the center, allowing a gradual fall off. This concentration of light creates an area in the light which is lighter in value than other areas in the light, thereby creating even more contrast with the shadow. A focal point created by illumination. To make this effect of light work, create the greatest contrast in this one area by allowing a greater range of values here. Be careful not to repeat this range of values anywhere else on the figure or object.

© John Ennis 2011

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