Reflected Light

Detail from The Last Rose by Elise Zoller

Edward Hopper once said, “There is a sort of elation about sunlight on the upper portion of a house”.  I would add – particularly a white house.  Because there is nothing white about white.

White takes on the color of everything around it, the blues and purples of the sky, the gold of late-day sunlight, the putty-colored roof below an eve, a grey pavement, the vibrant green of the trees and grass surrounding it.  It takes time to notice this.  As painters, that’s our job, to spend time and to notice.

Quality Cleaners by Elise Zoller – Oil

Reflected light is a secret marvel, when you begin to see it.  A front porch is the ideal spot to watch light bounce around.  So are overhangs, fences, and interior ceilings.

Late Afternoon by Elise Zoller – Oil

As the genji knife huckster says, “But, wait, there’s more!” One of my early painting teachers had us cut out construction paper shapes and assemble them to represent our faces in a mirror.  His goal was to have us notice big blocks of color and start thinking that way as painters.  What I noticed was the color under my chin, an orange gold, reflecting the wood floor.  I spent weeks afterwards furtively looking under people’s chins and analyzing the color variations. I wanted to know how the colors of their faces and the surfaces or clothing under their chins mixed to create those unique hues. 

Detail from The Four of Us by Elise Zoller – Oil

Next time you walk down the street, notice how the light bounces between the planes of buildings and their surroundings.  Get out your paints and start mixing.  And, as Hopper also said, “Appreciate the beauty of a simple white wall”.  Or, the front-porch-like overhang of a chin passing by.

Front Porch by Elise Zoller – Oil

Upcoming OPA Events

30th Annual National Juried Exhibition 30th Annual National Juried Exhibition
The Thirtieth National Exhibition and Convention will be hosted by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum, located in Escondido, California, from April 9 through May 16, 2021. Learn More!
OPA Spring 2021 Online Showcase OPA Spring 2021 Online Showcase
The Spring 2021 Online Showcase is from March 1 - May 15, 2021 and will be open to Associate members only. Learn More!
Salon Show 2021 Salon Show
The Salon Show will be hosted by Quinlan Visual Arts Center, located in Gainesville, Georgia, June 10 through August 7, 2021 Learn More!