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

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!
OPA Summer 2021 Online Showcase OPA Summer 2021 Online Showcase
The Summer 2021 Online Showcase is from June 1 - August 15, 2021 and will be open to Associate members only. Learn More!
Eastern Regional Exhibition 2021 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be hosted by the ArtCenter Manatee, located in Bradenton, Florida, September 28 through October 22, 2021. Learn More!
Western Regional Exhibition 2021 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held October 15 through November 27, 2021 at the Mary R. Koch Arts Center (Mark Arts), located in Wichita, Kansas. More details to be announced as they become available. Learn More!