The use of light and shadow in Carol Harrison’s acrylic paintings create a sense of timelessness and make everyday objects and scenes transcend the commonplace. To see more of her art, please visit her website.
When searching for a subject that I think will make a great painting, I look for contrast. I am always drawn to light, shadow, and interesting shapes.
Taking time to get to know my subject includes noticing the interplay of light and shadow over the areas, including what is in shadow, giving me a pretty good idea of the complete painting before I pick up a brush. It has to feel right. Throughout the process, if I have the sense of anticipation, I know I can make it “click”- relating how I feel about the subject though my work.
Frequently I find subjects for my paintings during expeditions on vacations. I am a studio painter, so once I find that ”next painting” I take a multitude of digital images, often at different times of the day at every angle I can get.
Almost always, a completed painting is a combination of several photos, or perhaps just a piece of one photo.
Organizing my thoughts while sifting through the photos, I start with a general blocking of lights and darks to establish composition. I find the blocked area much less intimidating than a solid white space.
Acrylics are my chosen medium, and I find it suits my style of work best, as I change color ranges and intensities often. Underpainting and dragging lighter colors over it establishes color subtleties that really inspire me, and adds texture, volume and strength to the subject.
The surface that I best like to work on is an archival pre-painted gesso board, chosen for no other reason than I prefer a hard surface rather than the “bounce” you sometimes get with stretched canvas. It also is sometimes more accommodating for framing purposes.
My second medium is graphite, which I use for animal portraiture. I love animals, and I love working with pencil. This has been a winning combination with many who love their pets, and I do many portraits over the holidays. I prefer graphite for this because I feel I can best express the character of the animal through this medium.