Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chasing Shadows

Summer Lighting is an oil done in plein air by Shirley Fachilla.
I’ve written about the backlit, about a Degas sort of stagelight and of course, cool, even north light, the standby of every artist. But I haven’t written a thing about one of the favorite lights for painters… dappled light.
Painters and dappled light have something of a love/hate relationship. We love that beautiful play of light and shadow which speaks to the very nature of visual reality. But we can hate it because its effects are so very hard to capture in paint.  Painting dappled light in plein air is like trying to trap sunlight in a bottle. Just when you think you’ve got it, it changes. What was in shadow is in light and what was light is shadowed.
It’s an almost irresistible temptation to chase the light (a plein air painting no-no).
For a truly exquisite tour de force of dappleness, take a look at Renoir’s Ball at the Moulin de la Galette or The Swing.  He not only did a masterful job of rendering dappled light, he managed to capture the feel and movement inherent in that light and shadow dance.


  1. You are so right about the love/hate relationship we all have with dappled light but you captured it beautifully here Shirley. The painting has a lovely ethereal feel about it!

  2. Shirley!
    It sparkles!
    Well done!
    Keep on painting!

  3. Thanks for the warm welcome! You've definitely caught that dappled light. Congratulations on your America painting, I had a peek at your past posts. Julie

  4. Gorgeous painting,Shirley!! oooooh..that shadow and light!!!

  5. love the way you painted this light...it is dancing around the painting and taking me with it!

  6. You have it down perfectly, Shirley! Dappled light adds a whole new dimension to a painting, doesn't it? Beautiful!

  7. Love the soft way you paint, such a beautiful painting.

  8. I love what Michael wrote about your piece, it does really 'sparkle' -


Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...