My Artist Handicap: Drawing From An Imaginary Light Source

First Stages of (Easy)
Second Stages of (Easy)
Final Stages of (Easy) perhaps?

For the past week now I’ve thought about what colors to add to this drawing so that it’d be completed. The issue I’ve been having since before this one was while I always came up with colors to use from off the top of my head, at the end of the piece I didn’t feel connected to it. Aesthetically, I thought “I guess this looks good, it’s drawn really well, and people like how it looks”, but I felt nothing other than that and I want to feel something for my artwork. Usually I would just think “really?”, when people said how much they enjoyed it.

It might have to do with thinking that my pieces aren’t finished until there’s some color on it or if there’s not any color, that it looks finished to the outside eye and that’s a belief I’d like to shed because I’ve seen many artists where the majority of their work is in black and white and look finished. So that largely contradicts that.

So, this is the first piece after my usual flair of rushing to paint right after drawing, where I’m now taking a step back and questioning is it just adding color that leaves me feeling unconnected or is it that I’m not getting as detailed when painting as I’d like to be. Detailed like adding a certain look and texture (ie. a denimed jean, a fabric). Is it because I’ve not really trained myself to paint with an imaginary light source in mind, the mood of the scenes doesn’t feel real to me? If you’ve looked through my portfolio, you’ll find I very rarely have shadows or a light source and that’s not deliberate. I don’t know how to create that if not already i the reference. I would love to create an atmosphere but— and I guess this is the magician revealing it’s hand: I struggle with knowing where a shadow or variants of light would go off the top of my head. See, I draw mostly from reference these days, having not have a functional camera for over what three-four years now? But, while that’s one reason why I leave out light sources since I’m drawing from multiple references, I’ve also just not really trained myself to pay attention to where the light would go and so don’t have an idea as to how a shadow or light reflected would look if I don’t SEE it and that handicap is showing in my work.

I think that not having my work be of my highest vision MAY be why I don’t feel connected to it. Maybe it is because it’s not where I want it to be. Or maybe when it is where I want it to be, that might not be why I don’t feel connected at all. I don’t know.

But, for now I’m taking the route of finding out how to create a mood through light and shadows because that’s important for me. See, with this piece I already know how I want it to look and that deals with how the light and shadows changes the colors of the couch, the walls, the people. So, I’m going to have to learn this stuff soon.

If you have any pointers, especially if you draw from photo references but have somehow managed to find your imaginary light-source lemme know how.

Happy Friday

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