Monday, March 2, 2009

Coffee and the Crossword and Chiaroscuro

Just for fun, a quick sketch of doing the morning crossword at the coffeeshop.  I kept it simple, and wanted to give the illusion of bright sunlight coming in through the windows as the patrons enjoyed their morning cup of joe.. 
About that title.. "chiaroscuro" (pronounced kee-ar-o-SKUR-o)  is  a style of painting where the shadows are painted thinly and transparently, and the lights are applied with thick opaque paint. Rembrandt was a master of chiaroscuro.
A simple example of this is found in the foreground figure.  If you click on the photo, you'll get an enlarged view, and you can easily see that the shadow portion of the central figure's face is very thin paint, while the side of the head facing the light is painted thickly with opaque paint.   In varying this application of paint, the artist gives a further illusion of  depth, and creates a slightly different plane on the surface of the canvas which enhances the feeling of space.   Plus, I think it is always quite interesting to see the brushstrokes of a painter.. those marks are the proof that a living person took brush and paint at a particular time and created a three dimensional image on a flat surface. I LIKE to see brushwork - I love to see how an artist pushed that paint around.  
Anyway, I think I'll go have my own cup of coffee now. But no crossword. Our local paper only comes out 2 days a week...

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