Spanish Sword is a 20x16 alla prima open studio oil by Shirley Fachilla.
Contemporary artist Dan McCaw advises painters to decide in the initial stages of their work whether it will be a “light” or a “dark” painting. He means whether light values or dark values will predominate on the canvas. According to Dan, one or the other must for a successful painting to emerge.
Note: value to a painter means the lightness or darkness of a color rather than its actual hue. An example of pure value would be a black and white photo, no color just gradients of light and dark. But all paintings and photos contain value as the underpinning of their color.
Caravaggio was a master of dark. He was a tremendously influential painter in his day, despite a low work output and personal difficulties that included murder charges. His paintings were usually very dark in value (and often equally dark in subject and mood) with slashes of high-contrast light. They radiated drama and intensity; other painters were mesmerized and immediately tried to paint like him. Some of us still do try.
Spanish Sword qualifies a dark painting. Our wonderful model came dressed as a pirate carrying a very real and very beautiful Spanish sword… thus the title.